K. Communicate standards of instruction through badging


Badging can be used to inform learners that independent assessment has verified the compliance of a course with standards for instruction and inclusion.

Application of badging to SFT courses has the potential to make SFT less of a “black box” for learners. While courses generally have informative titles, descriptions, etc. the quality and usefulness of training can be difficult for learners to assess in advance. Some training programs have reputational credibility, well-known instructors, or other context clues. However, there is generally no consistent and independently verified way for learners to make an assessment. Being a well-known practitioner does not necessarily translate to effective teaching. Accessibility and inclusion are even more difficult for learners to evaluate in advance.

A digital badge for instruction is a verifiable credential that can indicate a course meets guidelines or standards. For example, a course that follows accessibility guidelines and undergoes an independent certification (e.g., through a peer-review process) could display a badge on the course website verifying its compliance with accessibility standards has been reviewed. Code of conduct compliance would have greater value if a course badge was withdrawn from failing to meet its stated policy. Learners could see the requirements for attaining the badge and have increased confidence that a course would meet concrete instructional standards.

How might this work:🚲

Badges can be used for a variety of instructional practices and standards, and have been successfully used by some scientific communities to incentivize the adoption of practices 1 2. Peer-review of a course's compliance with a clear set of guidelines for each badge could also be successfully implemented. Badge-creating authorities would need to develop an open and transparent system that regulates how badges are issued, verified, or revoked. This would require technological implementation, as well as the development of rigorous guidelines and community buy-in (including the development of trained and trusted badge peer-reviewers). When badges become available, instructors and instructional designers would have to complete a badging process. Learners would need to be educated on and have confidence in the value of the badging system and be able to use it in making informed choices.

Benefits to the learners:🚲

  1. Learners can know in advance that an SFT is likely to meet standards they care about. Time and money spent on a badged course may be easier to justify.
  2. SFT that incorporates badging may signal that the training materials and course delivery have reached a certain level of maturity.
  3. Learners could get support from a trusted third party when guidelines (e.g., code-of-conduct) are not met.
  4. The popularization of badging could raise the level of professionalization as more and more SFT programs participate and align with guidelines.

Incentives to implementers:🚲

For Instructors and Instructional Designers

  1. Badges could serve as an indication of high-quality instruction and instructional materials.
  2. Learners may be incentivized to take a course that has earned certain badges and may be more satisfied because of the quality of training.
  3. Badges could incentivize practices that most directly impact the implementers (e.g., a badge for easy-to-reuse/FAIR training materials).

For Funders and Organizations

  1. Badges can make it easier to see which SFT programs are professionalized and/or which are following community-developed standards.

Barriers to implementation:🚲

  1. One or more trusted badge granting authorities and infrastructure would have to be put in place; there are open-source platforms 3 that could be adopted for this purpose, but the grantor of badges has to be equitable, specific, authoritative, and trusted.
  2. Multiple badge grant authorities and/or multiple guidelines for badges would need to be reconciled. Badges would not be helpful if there were multiple or conflicting standards.
  3. The badging process would have to be sustainable. If the badging authority disappears or is dysfunctional it will lose credibility. The process would also need to be equitable to avoid unfairly preferencing the culture and worldview of one community over others.

Survey question🚲

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  1. Nosek, B. A., Alter, G., Banks, G. C., Borsboom, D., Bowman, S. D., Breckler, S. J., Buck, S., Chambers, C. D., Chin, G., Christensen, G., Contestabile, M., Dafoe, A., Eich, E., Freese, J., Glennerster, R., Goroff, D., Green, D. P., Hesse, B., Humphreys, M., … Yarkoni, T. (2015). Promoting an open research culture. In Science (Vol. 348, Issue 6242). https://doi.org/10.1126/science.aab2374

  2. Kidwell MC, Lazarević LB, Baranski E, Hardwicke TE, Piechowski S, et al. (2016) Badges to Acknowledge Open Practices: A Simple, Low-Cost, Effective Method for Increasing Transparency. PLOS Biology 14(5): e1002456. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pbio.1002456

  3. Badge Wiki contributors. Main Page [Internet]. Badge Wiki, ; 2022 Jun 23, 13:41 UTC [cited 2022 Jul 9]. Available from: https://badge.wiki/w/index.php?title=Main_Page&oldid=9054