How to Use Digital Badges in Your Online Courses

Digital badges are everywhere. Don’t believe me? Just check your favorite app. Let’s take LinkedIn. You’ve probably seen the gold “In” logo on someone’s profile to signal that they’re a “premium” user (you may even have one yourself). The square logo both displays user status while encouraging other users to purchase a “premium” membership. This is a form of digital badge. In simple terms, badges are an element of gamification that represent the achievement, skill, accomplishment or ranking of a student. From just passing a test or a student moving up to the next level of a membership site, badges can be issued to make them aware we are proud of their achievement, which in turn can motivate them to continue moving forward and increase their level of engagement. Digital badges are actually what I like to call “magic technology”. Because of their numerous benefits, I encourage you to incorporate them into your online course today. Here are the 4 ways you can get onboard: 1) Establish a Reward System From the Army to the Boy Scouts, badges have been used to reward accomplishments and recognize top performing members. Digital badges in education can have this same role. You can use badges to shape user behavior. For instance, if you want your students to be more active on your membership site, reward already the most active users with a badge. Not only will this make engaged students feel “seen,” but it will also encourage less active students to increase their engagement. Rewarding students is also an effective way to help students associate learning with something positive. Badges give students immediate validation, as well as encourage them to consume more content in order to collect more badges to get to the next level.

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