Name of the original practice to be transferred
Validation of Learning with Open Badges
Specific context where the practice has already been implemented/ applied
Lithuanian Association of Non-formal Education (short. LiNA) provided expertise in recognition practices and technical experience in working with Open Digital Badges and partnered up with State Department of Youth Affairs under the Ministry of Social Security and Labour for upgrading assessment and validation tools for the National volunteering service “Discover Yourself”. This programme functions under the framework on Youth Guarantee, aiming to involve young people not in employment, education or training (in so called “NEET situation”).
The assessment and validation is called Achievement Programme “Discover Yourself”.
With a help of this progamme , digital open badges are issued for the completion of certain tasks and the improvement of the chosen competences. It creates a “badge wallet” which stores evidence of the volunteer’s activities, experience and skills. The programme allows volunteers to monitor and evaluate their achievements as well as show to the world what they are capable of and what qualities they have. Badge earners can manage their achievements using a Badge Wallet mobile application. It is free and available at the Apple App Store (for iOS) or Google Play (for Android).
If young people volunteer at least 3 months, then they get extra 0,25 points (out of max. 10) during the admission process to any University in Lithuania. That has been great recognition and support for young people in validation of volunteering experiences. All badges Achievement Programme “Discover Yourself” have received endorsement of Lithuanian Confederation of Industrialists and National Labour Office. All achievements represented by open badges and all endorsements are visible at the certificate, issued at bagdecraft.eu platform with unique number and validation mechanism via weblink.
Open digital badge is a digital certificate that encrypts and digitally validated information related to the learning process, achievements or competences of the badge owner. It is an innovative digital tool to recognise learning and skills that are often too difficult to measure within the programme/process of non-formal education (soft skills, acquired attitudes, participation, personal hobbies, etc.). Each badge has important information built in on the achievement: name, description, criteria, the issuing body, evidence, the date of issuing and other additional information.
The evidence provided by the volunteers, is based on both self-assessment of volunteers and mentors of voluntary service. The quality of the programme and reliability of the service is ensued via ongoing support and training of volunteering programme mentors as well as support by digital infrastructure provided by the online platform badgecraft.eu allowing to create validation systems based on open badges.
Conditions of the original practice
Validation based on open badges was based on existing web platform badgecraf.eu for building and issuing open badges. Volunteers needed mobile app badgewallet.eu for earning badges. National volunteering programme was already in place with hosting organisations, mentors and volunteer registration system. The validation of experience and offer of extra admission points in the higher education has been issued by close cooperation between the State Department of Youth Affairs and respective institution under the Ministry of Education and Science. Badge based achievements assessment and validation system was created by the team from LiNA and Mentors working at the “Discover Yourself” project. Wider recognition and endorsement required cooperation with regional or national industry associations in order to increase the level and scope of recognition of competences gained through volunteering.
Structures of the original practice
- ICT infrastructure: platform badgecraft.eu and Badge wallet mobile application
- Open badge structure of entering meta-data and digital validation of badge authenticity
- Learning experience and structures providing leaning – Volunteering programme “Discover yourself” with mentors, hosting organisations and online registration
- Endorsers – institutions and organisations, giving recognition to open badges and competences acquired
- Validators – organisations giving value to an experience based on the evidence provided
Suggestions on how these will transfer to the new context
LiNA supports organisations across Europe since 2014 in using Open badges for recognition and validation of learning acquired through non-formal education and informal learning. The following steps are necessary for successful transfer to new contexts:
- Design of the educational programme, developing competences of young people. In our project – specifically in the context of increasing employability of young people. Programme needs to have clear educational goals, methodology, competence assessment flow.
- Preparation of trainers, mentors, youth workers able to provide support for young people to reflect on learning, convey self-assessment and external assessment of evidence, required by Open badge criteria.
- Design set of Open badges adapted to a specific educational context and target groups.
- Prepare guidelines for the use of Open badges in badgecraft.eu
- Set up service on the badgecraft.eu, which will link to the Badge Wallet mobile app, allowing young people easily earn and share open badges.
- Build endorsement and validation agreements with industry associations in each country, participating in this project. It would increase the value of the badge, young people would be aware of opportunities provided with the open badge and endorsers will acknowledge the quality of the educational process and can easily judge the evidence provided within the open badge.
- Research the impact, adapt the system as necessary and disseminate good practice.
- Invite other organisations to join and issue open badges, which will be available through the public library
If available, give us a link where we can find additional information on this practice in English
A presentation about open badges and use of badges in Achievement programme “Discover yourself” available here: https://www.slideshare.net/badgecraft/offroad-certificates-in-digital-society
Link to the guide on the way open badges are created and issues via www.badgecraft.eu platform:
What is the Eco-system of recognition with open badges: https://www.slideshare.net/badgecraft/connected-recognition-with-digital-open-badges-by-badgecraft