At first sight, one can say that little to nothing, but the fact is that this week I chose two readings of badges theory and another of augmented reality. Thus, I found two connections.
Augmented reality -AR hereinafter- enriches real contexts by providing relevant digital information. The result is a learning environment where interactions of students with it are prompted, as well as interactions between them. Thus, AR is grounded in social constructivism, which “posit that the level of learning is dependent upon the quality of the social interaction within the context” (Dunleavy & Dede, 2014, p. 736).
Situated learning also supports AR as cognitive tool and pedagogical approach. Since AR leverages interaction with real environments -especially if we talk of GPS based AR applications-, learning is prompted in a real context, and transfer of knowledge and skills to real life situations is more likely to happen.
Thus, AR is presented by Dunleavy & Dede as a cognitive tool that brings closer formal education to real life, fostering transfer (2014). Meanwhile, theory of badges tries to establish a system of recognition and assessment for informal learning (Davis & Singh, 2015). Moreover, “digital badges represent a specific kind of networked technology that has the potential both to recognize and connect learning across contexts” (p. 72).
Real life, informal learning… Learning is only one, the same, despite where it happens, how it happens, if planned or not; and badges theory tries that any learning that really happens be recognized. That’s the philosophy behind Mozilla’s project Open Badges: “Get recognition for skills you learn anywhere.” (retrieved from http://openbadges.org/).
Therefore, the first similitude between AR and badges theory that we find, is that both point out to learning itself. Let’s continue with the second connection.
AR presents a problem: instructional design is complex. It’s implementation frequently reports that students are overwhelmed with the complexity (Dunleavy & Dede, 2014). Probably, this complexity is not only due to the technical part, but also because it tends to immerse students in an enriched environment, so that interactions be students driven, instead of programmed. In other words, learning with AR tend to be learner driven. The student is provided with “multiple incomplete, yet complementary perspectives” (Dunleavy & Dede, 2014, p. 739). Then, s/he is impelled to explore, connect, and make sense. This student centered perspective, explains why it’s so important the management of complexity (p. 739).
Likewise, badges addresses a kind of learning completely driven by students. This is so even when this theory is applied to a designed learning program, like Teacher learning Journeys Badging System (Gamrat & Zimmerman, 2015). In fact, two key characteristics of this program are personalization and customization. Learners are required to write down their goals, to choose the activities, to design their itinerary, and even to control “their level of engagement with the topic by adjusting the type of micro-credential sought for learning – a TLJ stamp or TLJ badge” (p. 14).
To conclude, AR and Badges theories address learning as a student driven phenomenon that happens in a unbounded variety of ways.
- Dunleavy, M., & Dede, C. (2014). Augmented reality teaching and learning.
- Gamrat, C., & Zimmerman, H. (2015). An Online Badging System Supporting Educators’ STEM Learning. In D. Hickey, J. Jovanović, S. Lonn, & J. E. Willis (Eds.), Proceedings of the 2nd International Workshop on Open Badges in Education co-located with the 5th International Learning Analytics and Knowledge Conference (LAK 2015) (pp. 12–23). Poughkeepsie: CEUR Workshop Proceedings.
- Davis, K., & Singh, S. (2015). Digital Badges in Afterschool Learning: Documenting the Perspectives and Experiences of Students and Educators. Computers & Education, 88
- Mozilla Open Badges. Mozilla wiki. https://wiki.mozilla.org/Badges