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Digital Open badges and ePortfolios in Profiling Expertise

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Abstract

The fundamental changes in the world of work increase the need for effective competence development to meet local challenges and unique professional needs. Creating workspace ePortfolios is relevant for learning and professional growth. When using ePortfolios for career purposes, showcases are used. These two phases of ePortfolios are recognised and the assessment of showcase ePortfolios is discussed in this paper through the digital open badge concept. Both ePortfolios and open badges offer to make competences visible in digital format such as by text, photos, figures, and videos. Thus, open badges have become a modern approach in educational practices as a way to demonstrate and assess competences in authentic contexts. The badge concept gives opportunities also to create so called mini portfolios. The aim is to make individuals' competences visible during the studies, at the moment of employment and in the continuous development of professional expertise. This conference paper summarises the latest research concerning ePortfolios and digital open badges as showcases. We discuss the relationship between ePortfolios and open badges, and the principles for designing thematically organised and retrospective showcase ePortfolios for different purposes.
Digital Open badges and ePortfolios in Profiling Expertise
EAPRIL2021 - ONLINE 26th of November 2021
Sanna Brauer, Oulu University of Applied Sciences
Anne-Maria Korhonen, HAMK University of Applied Sciences
Abstract:
The fundamental changes in the world of work increase the need for effective competence
development to meet local challenges and unique professional needs. Creating workspace
ePortfolios is relevant for learning and professional growth. When using ePortfolios for career
purposes, showcases are used. These two phases of ePortfolios are recognised and the assessment
of showcase ePortfolios is discussed in this paper through the digital open badge concept. Both
ePortfolios and open badges offer to make competences visible in digital format such as by text,
photos, figures, and videos. Thus, open badges have become a modern approach in educational
practices as a way to demonstrate and assess competences in authentic contexts. The badge concept
gives opportunities also to create so called mini portfolios. The aim is to make individuals’
competences visible during the studies, at the moment of employment and in the continuous
development of professional expertise. This conference paper summarises the latest research
concerning ePortfolios and digital open badges as showcases. We discuss the relationship between
ePortfolios and open badges, and the principles for designing thematically organised and
retrospective showcase ePortfolios for different purposes.
Keywords: Assessment and evaluation, Educational Technology, In-service Teacher Training, Lifelong
Learning
Extended Summary:
Definitions of Open Badges and ePortfolios
Years of experiments with ePortfolios and open badges in educational settings have raised three
questions: first, are the ePortfolios for sharing open badges, or second, is a function of open badges
to be ePortfolios. Third, we may ask if open badges are required to identify and recognise
competences that are presented in ePortfolios. When searching answers to these questions the main
question relates to the audience: to whom the achieved competences are informed. If we think about
the relationship between ePortfolios and open badges we may consider the Barrett’s (2010) two
faces of ePortfolios combined with open badge-driven learning structure (Brauer, 2019). Barrett
(2010) pointed out that individuals should consider what work they are so proud of that it might be
shared. Badges offer to inform learning outcomes, but also support collaboration, creating new
learning communities and shared practices (Brauer, 2019). Digital open badges are electronic
microcredentials that can be used to identify and promote excellence and mastery with a detailed
knowledge and expertise criteria as well as a description of the evidence. Brauer (2019) suggests
digital open badges as a tool for individuals seeking to identify personal competences or to
comprehend the needs of development in practice. Digital open badges offer to inform and improve
both professional development and professional knowledge constructions to develop different
competences.
The current state-of-the-art: ePortfolios and open badges in Finland
In this Case Study presentation we explain the current state-of-the-art related to ePortfolios and
open badges in Finland originating from the significant success of the first (massive open
online) badge-driven programme of continuing professional development (CPD) for VET
teachers and the national initiatives of professional development following the most
advantageous lessons learned in the past ten years. We underpin the main principles in restructuring
professional expertise and designing learning and education practices that support continuous
learning and individual development plans.
We present a summary of several cases and studies conducted with pre- and in-service teachers (i.e.
National development programs: Learning Online Professional Development for Vocational
Teachers; Teacher’s Badges Initiative; The EU-projects: Soft Skills Training and Recruitment of Adult
Educators; Chips for Game Skills) of implementing scaffolding and assessment through ePortfolios
(Korhonen, 2020) and digital open badge-driven learning (Brauer, 2019) that we may relate to the
posed questions. The cases and studies have led us to discover the deeper relationship between
open badges and ePortfolios. However, there is a room for a more philosophical approach of the two
phenomena.
ePortfolios and digital open badges are considered promising in the visualisation of studies;
according to Hickey, Willis III and Quick. (2015), it remains difficult to estimate the value of badges
compared, for example, with the existing certification system. Open Badges are literally open to
anyone seeking to create and recognise the achievements of others. One recognised challenge is to
store evidence in an environment other than badges, and ensure that they are available possibly
even years from now. Currently, there are only a few practically tested pedagogical models available.
Flexible assessment models can also tie together significant scaffolding resources (Hickey et al., 2015;
Brauer, Korhonen, & Siklander, 2019).
Making competences visible through ePortfolios and open badges
Instead of traditional education and training conferring a degree, we provide a 360 degree view of
continuous professional development (Brauer & Korhonen, 2022) based on a kind of block-chain
model of “nano-degrees” where different competences can be acquired in several contexts. Open
badges as showcases emphasises the essence of badges ability to describe different competences in
detail. Barrett (2010) explains that the key features of a showcase ePortfolio are thematically
organised and retrospective view of reflection, such as “why did I choose these pieces, what am I
most proud to highlight my work and what does this work show about my learning” (p. 10). Our
model also gives a possibility to highlight all these features, however the essential difference to the
Barrett’s (2010) original idea of a showcase ePortfolio is that criteria-based assessment of a
competence replaces the summative assessment of learning. In open badges the criteria-based
evidence is always attached and it is an authentic competence demonstration.
The showcase product and presentation of open badges links seamlessly to services such as Open
Badge Passport, where you can receive and store your open badges safely and share them with
whomever you like and wherever you like. Customisation of this kind of ‘miniportfolio’ showcase
view is also about the ability to select which badges are displayed as public for different purposes
either to social media, sent as a link or embedded to a website. As Barrett (2010) describes collection
of artefacts formatted as text, photo or video for instance, we consider the option to attach
documentation of competence, the evidence, to the badge as a key feature of a showcase
communicating different audiences. Different competence demonstrations of and the assessments
given by various parties are relevant and meaningful for different purposes, they describe
competence in multiple ways, and the value is context specific. For example, an assessment from a
high-ranking professor as part of university studies is valuable for those interested in an academic
career, while, for example, an assessment of a gaming house employee already known in the gaming
industry can indicate the most important skills for employment.
Workflow of the presentation
During the workshop participants are given further questions in order to improve the usability of
ePortfolios and open badges combined as one understandable and useful concept supporting each
other. The workshop participants are divided in small groups and digital tools (e.g. Google Jamboard)
are used for collaboration and for documenting new ideas and approaches to our questions.
References
Barrett, H. (2010). “Balancing the two faces of ePortfolios.” Educação, Formação & Tecnologias, 3(1), 614.
Retrieved from http://eft.educom.pt/index.php/eft/article/viewFile/161/102
Brauer, S. (2019). Digital Open Badge-Driven Learning Competence-based Professional Development for
Vocational Teachers (doctoral dissertation). Acta Universitatis Lapponiensis 380. Rovaniemi: Lapland
University Press. http://urn.fi/URN:ISBN:978-952-337-110-1
Brauer, S., & Korhonen, A. (2022). 360-Degree View of Digital Open Badge-Driven Learning. In D. Piedra
(Ed.), Innovations in the Design and Application of Alternative Digital Credentials (pp. 95-130). IGI Global.
https://doi.org/10.4018/978-1-7998-7697-7.ch005
Brauer, S., Korhonen, A-M., & Siklander, P. (2019). Online scaffolding in digital open badge-driven learning.
Educational Research, 61(1), 53-69. https://doi.org/10.1080/00131881.2018.1562953
Hickey, D., Willis III, J. E. & Quick, J. (2015). Where Badges Work Better. EDUCAUSE, 2. Louisville, CO.
Korhonen, A.-M. (2020). Designing scaffolding for personal learning environments: Continuous learning
perspective in vocational teacher education context (doctoral dissertation). Annales Universitas Turkuensis
B 516. https://www.utupub.fi/handle/10024/150210
ResearchGate has not been able to resolve any citations for this publication.
Full-text available
Thesis
Digital Open Badge-Driven Learning – Competence-based Professional Development for Vocational Teachers Rovaniemi: University of Lapland 2019, 175 p. Acta Universitas Lapponiensis 380 Thesis: University of Lapland, Faculty of Education ISBN 978-952-337-109-5 ISSN 0788-7604 In the digital era, institutions of vocational education and training (VET) have emerged as transformational and flexible development environments; consequently, it is important to develop digital professional learning opportunities for vocational teachers who need to meet the requirements of their working lives. More research regarding such opportunities is needed in order to find new tools for planning and conducting studies on continuing professional development and to achieve and maintain the versatile competences required in vocational teachers’ demanding careers. This study aims to fill a research gap regarding advanced competence-based professional development by investigating the process of digital open badge-driven learning in the context of professional teacher education (vocational teacher education). The research question considers how digital open badges structure the gamified competence-based learning process in the continuing professional development of vocational pre- and in-service teachers. Theoretically, this study draws attention to the motivational effects of digital badging, gamification and the competence-based approach. The research aimed to explore vocational teachers’ different ideas, views and experiences of the competence-based approach to professional development of digital pedagogical competences; it also sought to investigate the structure and process of digital open badge-driven learning. The data were collected from Finnish pre- and in-service vocational teachers (n=29) in 2016 via group online interviews (n=6) and via online questionnaires in 2017 (n=329). The study draws on descriptive mixed research methodologies: qualitative content analysis, constrained correspondence analysis (CCA) and phenomenography. All of these approaches provide researchers with deep conceptual understandings and opportunities to draw new concepts and derive implications for novel educational practices. Further, the latter two studies provide a strong underpinning for further research related to the descriptive quantitative methodology and CCA. 8 • Digital Open Badge-Driven Learning – Competence-based Professional Development for Vocational Teachers The aim of the first sub-study was to reveal what motivates students in the badge-driven learning process. The study focused on mapping students’ experiences of stimulating and supportive digital open badge-driven learning, ultimately determining motivational factors affecting the digital open badge-driven learning process. The findings present a multifaceted model of recognising competence and embracing gamified learning to encourage students’ achievement orientation and intrinsic motivation. In the second sub-study, we viewed the process from the perspective of guidance and scaffolding, asking how students experience scaffolding in badge-driven learning. The results indicate that a stage model of scaffolding and instructional badging holds value in structuring the badge-driven learning process. The third study aimed to identify students who were particularly motivated by digital open badge-driven learning. The research question sought to explore what triggers learning in the badge-driven process, with results indicating similarities and differences in experiences based on the achieved skill-set level and competence-development continuum for vocational teachers. The findings also suggest the value of applying gamification and digital badging in the professional development of both pre- and in-service teachers. Based on our findings, we propose digital open badge-driven learning triggered by flexible study options that include customising studies and learning new and up-to-date competences. The final and fourth study further describes vocational pre- and in-service teachers’ experiences of the competence-based approach in digital open badge-driven learning. By explaining different aspects of the phenomenon, the study employed both constrained correspondence analysis and phenomenography to deepen our existing knowledge of digital open badge-driven learning. The results describe the impact of the competence-based approach on teachers’ professional development during the digital open badge-driven learning process. Each of the four sub-studies contribute to answering the study’s overarching research question: how do digital open badges structure the gamified competence-based learning process in the continuing professional development of vocational pre- and in-service teachers? The primary results from the various sub-studies and theoretical approaches culminate in defining digital open badge-driven learning process grounded on the badge constellation of competences. The entity of digital open badge-driven learning includes learning materials, badge criteria, instructional badging, scaffolding and peer support. This study offers insights into the process structure and layered design for applying the competence-based approach, digital open badges and gamification in professional development. Further, the process approach embodies the ideal of study path customisation and personalisation in order to meet teachers’ personal needs for their working lives. Keywords: Digital Open Badges, Competence-based Approach, Motivation, Gamification, Professional Development, Vocational Teachers
Chapter
This chapter describes alternative credentialing practices related to competence-based open badges and their different audiences. The authors provide insights into different theoretical approaches to digital badging practices that could potentially support a competence orientation in continuous professional development and enhance lifelong learning. One aim of this chapter is to summarise the first European doctoral dissertation to address digital open badges and digital open badge-driven learning. The authors offer novel insights into reforms in education aimed at addressing students' individual interests and meeting the recognised needs of working life. They also present a set of innovative Finnish applications of digital open badge-driven learning in the context of educational research. Moreover, they describe the potential of badges as a tool to build ePortfolios. This chapter draws attention to the motivational effects of digital badging and the use of ePortfolios as an informative and interesting way to demonstrate competences in different contexts.
Article
Background: Digital open badges support competence-based professional development and criteria-based assessment of competences in digital environments. As the use of digital badges is growing rapidly, there is a need for in-depth pedagogical understanding to enable effective classroom application. Purpose: This study seeks to examine the stages of online scaffolding and instructional badging in the digital open badge-driven learning process. We researched students’ experiences of scaffolding in badge-driven learning. Sample: Data were collected from group online interviews (n = 6) with trained Finnish vocational teachers (n = 17) and students of vocational teacher education (n = 12) who earned badges of digital pedagogical competences in the national Professional Development (PD) programme called ‘Learning Online’. Design and methods: This qualitative study was conducted via data-driven content analysis. Hierarchically inclusive relationships were analysed in an ongoing comparison to examine the stages of scaffolding in the digital open badge-driven learning process. The findings were mapped against Salmon’s five-stage-model to represent individual and group thinking regarding a specific concept at a particular time. Findings: The findings reflect students’ experiences and provide insights regarding the optimal form of assessments and scaffolding. They further illustrate the challenges and opportunities involved in badge-driven learning from the perspective of professional development. Conclusions: Based on the findings, we raise questions for further research and suggest a practical approach to help teachers to plan and conduct scaffolding and instructional badging in the digital open badge-driven learning environment. KEYWORDS: Competence-based-approach, digital open badges, professional development, scaffolding, vocational teachers, lifelong learning
Article
This paper focuses on the two major purposes for developing ePortfolios, and how to balance both approaches to enhance learner engagement with the ePortfolio process. The paper begins by discussing what an ePortefolio is and how several web 2.0 tools can support ePortfolio development. It then focuses on the two main approaches for ePortfolio development: portfolio as workspace and portfolio as showcase as a framework for developing ePortfolios.
Designing scaffolding for personal learning environments: Continuous learning perspective in vocational teacher education context (doctoral dissertation)
  • A.-M Korhonen
Korhonen, A.-M. (2020). Designing scaffolding for personal learning environments: Continuous learning perspective in vocational teacher education context (doctoral dissertation). Annales Universitas Turkuensis B 516. https://www.utupub.fi/handle/10024/150210