LOTS OF CHATTER ABOUT DIGITAL BADGES AND OPEN BADGES: AN EXAMINATION OF THE EMERGENT LITERATURE IN HIGHER EDUCATION

N. Haughton, P. Singh

University of Toledo (UNITED STATES)
Introduction:
Since their emergence roughly five years ago, digital badges have been adopted by many organizations including universities to capture knowledge and achievements associated with a variety of settings (Hickey, Willis, and Quick, n.d.). Grant et al. (2015) offer some timely statistics about the adoption and diffusion of digital badges. September 2011 marks the official launch of digital badges; the appearance Mozilla’s Open Badges interface in March 2013; early 2015 publication of their work there were over 700 users linked to 75,000 digital badges.

Purpose:
This paper explores the emergent literature on the use of digital badges with the focus on categorizing research according to a variety of variables. It extends the work of Grant and Shawgo’s 2013 annotated bibliography and Hickey’s 2013 review of digital badge-related projects by providing an updated review of the literature and a detailed analysis of the publications. This work focuses on peer-reviewed journal articles and adoption in higher education settings. The following research questions are addressed:

Research Questions:
1. What types of studies were published – primary vs. secondary
2. Publication outlets (book chapters vs. peer-reviewed journals)
3. Type of learning outcome being credentialed (knowledge, attitude)
4. Focus of the research (teachers, students, other)

Methods and Procedures:
Sample: a minimum of 40 peer-reviewed publications.
Instrumentation: A content analysis form was developed to categorize the publications. Broad categories include: About the research (7 variables); badge technology (5 variables); and about each study’s design (10 variables).
Procedures: Searches of the peer-reviewed publications were done. A final list of unique research results were developed and coded. A quantitative content analysis was conducted to answer each research question.

Results:
Each research question will be answered.

Discussion and Implications: These will be included.