Skills have become a continuous point of reference of lectures on the means needed for the growth of the country to grow (e.g. digital skills), the territory (e.g. regional frameworks for professional standards), companies (e.g. soft skills) and people (e.g. lifelong learning). In a certain sense, they represent the atomic and concrete elements that make up the more extensive learning paths, such as formal study courses: speaking of skills allows us to observe the individual elements that identify a valuable human resource in a specific context, but also a training path that is just as valuable and specific. Open Badge are simply the digital tools that describe skills and work with them. An Open Badge represents a skill through a symbolic image, metadata that describe it, additional metadata that assign it to a learner unequivocally and a reference to the platform that technically assigned the Badge and which acts as a guarantee of its veracity and validity. Anything that can be done with a skill can be done with an Open Badge and it thereby becomes explicit, available to the public and ready to be shared. A SKILL can:
- be defined by an expert on the subject: the definition of a Badge, with its metadata and an image that represents it
- be identified in a person: the criteria by which a Badge is assigned
- be obtained and displayed by a learner: the act by which a learner satisfies the criteria and obtains a Badge
- be described and shared, including with potential employers: the sharing of a badge on social networks and digital curricula
- be verified: the option provided by Open Badge infrastructure to verify on the spot whether a Badge has actually been assigned to a learner and whether the Badge is still within its expiry date
- be supported by other persons and institutions: the endorsement that an organisation can give a Badge defined by others.
The visual representation of skills within a digital ecosystem also enables other new mechanisms, which allow you to do even more things:
- the use of the image as a summary and vehicle for details, activates gamification mechanisms, suggesting through its mere design the possibility of belonging to a path, a series in which various steps lead to the conquest of a full super-skill: an element that can be exploited in the process of learning design to stimulate engagement
- the fact that a description of a skill is established and published with the Badge makes it easier to refer to it without having to agree on the meaning each time da
- the fact that all assignments go through the platform that issues the Badge makes it easy to collect information on the number of people with a certain skill and – why not – activate a community of all the learners with said Badge, to stimulate the sharing of experiences and give everyone the opportunity to be inspired by the paths taken by others.
Be the first to undertake the experience: read the assignment criteria of a Badge and try to obtain it. Bestr Friend is an experimental Badge created for this very purpose on Bestr, the first Italian Open Badge-based platform. Chiara Carlino