Badges are not exactly a new concept, but like many ideas that come from games, they are still not widely known in the world of higher education and learning. As many of us know from playing sports or participating in Scouts-style programs as children, badges are physical marks of achievement given to those that show competency at a particular skill or for doing well in a competition. In video games like World of Warcraft, meeting a particular goal is called an ‘achievement’. Each achievement you earn flashes across the public chat, allowing for recognition, and some of them come with special items or titles in the game. Defeat the Lich King, and you not only get to bask in the glory of victory, but you earn the title ‘Kingslayer’. While typically meant as a form of visible recognition for an achievement, earning achievements or badges can motivate behavior and can be seen as credentials in their own right.
Motivation, recognition, and credentialing skills–sounds like what we want to do in the classroom, right?