Though eLearning courses can be an exceedingly useful tool for teaching, a problem many professionals run into is incentivizing. How do you keep learners motivated to learn, and how do you get them invested in the intangible world behind their computer screen? One solution that a growing number of eLearning developers are turning to is achievement badges.
Achievement badges are little rewards and recognitions that learners can earn for finishing tasks or mastering skills. How they earn the badges and how much the badges are valued is completely up to you. Ideally, learners should be able to carry these badges with them in the digital world outside of the course, using badge display software such as BadgeKit, Credly, or BadgeOS. By allowing the learners to keep these digital badges after the fact, it allows them to take more pride in these accomplishments and show them to future colleagues as proof of experience.
1. Certification Badges in eLearning
One common way to use badges is as a sort of mini-certification. Though less prestigious than a college degree or a professional license, badges in eLearning can serve as a gatekeeper to indicate which learners have been trained on specific tasks. An example of this might be prohibiting employees from operating a forklift until they have earned their “Forklift Badge”.
2. Diversify Skills
Badges also allow for more diversity in training. A course might contain 20 badges, of which you might require your learners to earn 15, allowing them to choose–within reason–the achievements they want to pursue, which skills they learn, and grant them the ability to specialize in what interests them.
3. Easy Channel of Feedback
Feedback in any learning endeavor is always a good idea. When you were learning math in grade school, your teacher didn’t just throw numbers at you and leave the room. They probably stuck around to let you know if you were doing it right and gave you tips for improvement. With badges, you are given a frequent opportunity to give feedback to your learners, keeping up with their individual needs and marking their progress along the way.
4. Break it Down into Chunks
Courses are rarely a one-and-done endeavor. They are almost always comprised of smaller chunks and assignments. Badges are a great help in breaking things down because they act as a natural milestone between one achievement and the next. Some badges could be treated as mere stepping stones, while others are hallowed achievements akin to a mini graduation of sorts. Breaking things down like this is beneficial, because instead of a small number of massive assignments to tackle, learners can pick away at a larger number of small assignments, each encapsulating a certain concept for which they can earn a badge.
Anything I missed? How do you use badges to recognize and motivate?