Competence-based assessment and digital badging as guidance in vocational teacher education


  • Sanna Braeur
  • Pirkko Siklander


Digital open badges, microcredentials, vocational teacher education


Digital pedagogy means applying new technologies to teaching and learning in online, hybrid and face-to-face learning environments. Digital open badges, a set of micro-credentials, support equal and egalitarian competence-based assessment models. Criterion-based digital badging combined with gamification promise learning solutions that have the potential to improve learning outcomes substantially. The aim of this study is to investigate how a competence-based assessment process in an open badge management system enhances learning and guides students to improved learning outcomes. The theoretical framework is focused on concepts of gamification and instructional badging. Data were collected in 2016 from group interviews (n=6) of trained Finnish professional teachers (n=17) along with students in vocational teacher education (n=12) who earned 645 badges over one year in the Professional Development (PD) program, Learning Online. Inductive thematic analysis revealed several significant features of competence-based assessment and badge management, which reflected the students' individual experiences of the optimal form and frequency of assessments, feedback, guidance and advice. The preliminary results of this study emphasise the importance of open study groups and the option of joining and leaving the learning network freely. Shared expertise and shared learning experiences increase cohesion within freely formed study groups. The results of this study show the challenges and opportunities involved in badge management from the perspective of digital guidance and gamification, providing additional insight into the design and development of badge-driven learning in the future. This paper suggests that researchers should consider using a badge management application as an environment to guide badge-driven learning.






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