How Badges Can Increase User Engagement in MOOCs

How Badges Can Increase User Engagement in MOOCs

When you think of it, the idea of using digital badges to mark academic accomplishments might seem juvenile, at first. But now I ask you to think again considering if you’re an academic tied to technology how badges can be harbingers of an educational

 recognition for you. Can you see the positive aspect and significance of it yet?

Don’t be anxious if you still can’t. In this article we’ll see how exactly onsite rewards like badges can be of aid to the learners and teachers of MOOCs and also help build up user engagement.

Your measurable education should never come to a halt on leaving a classroom. Instead, the knowledge you acquire in your entire life, in job and through hobbies, should be quantified and communicated to your employers and collaborators without the physical limitations of paper transcripts and resumes. Because badges are linked to information-rich pages that list earning criteria and verifying evidence, they can measure and symbolize learning in ways that the grades or numbers written on a transcript cannot.

Badges are used to quantify high-level competencies and symbolize the mastery of critical thought processes and field-specific skills. They are tools that can be incorporated in MOOCs to increase the motivation and engagement of the learners. A research has shown that in human-computer interactions people prefer to be evaluated through onsite badges, rewards or progress meters. These enhance the attractiveness and effectiveness of computer interfaces.  Allowing learners to be assessed by such tools at various stages of their progress through the course, is a simple way to increase their engagement with the course. As a result of this, learners are much more interested to go through the course and these virtual rewards keep them motivated and build in them the spirit to keep on improving so as to earn badges of a higher value and number.

Here are some ways how the inclusion of badges in MOOCs enhance user engagement and motivation:

  • Badges in MOOCs represent high-valued achievements. They are highly flexible and serve as publicly visible status symbols, so naturally users keep themselves more engaged and motivated throughout the course to be able to earn them.
  • In MOOCs, badges can be issued for specific achievements such as completing a module, finishing a series of related activities, or acquiring a new skill, or for more abstract achievements like teamwork and leadership.
  • Badges are used for self-assessment by learners and also aid instructors and parents to evaluate the performance of the students.
  • They also promote healthy competition between learners, since when it comes to competing with fellow learners to achieve a milestone; learners try to put in all their efforts to succeed. As a result, they are more engaged and motivated throughout.
  • Learners who achieve a certain number of badges are allowed access to higher levels and virtual accessories for their avatars are unlocked. This again keeps learners more engaged with their course in order to perform better to earn maximum badges.
  • We have now come across many benefits of the inclusion of badges in MOOCs, but at the same time we need to keep in mind the fact that elements such as badges can be de-motivating as well if they’re not properly made to function. So, badges should be attainable, some should be easy to attain whereas others more challenging, but they must be achievable within the context of an online course.
  • To feel the difference in the number of users engaging with your MOOCs, start incorporating elements such as onsite badges into them. They act as motivators throughout the course and keep the learners engaged with the activities of the course. This eventually leads to betterment in performance of the learners, fosters their spirit of competition and compels them to perform using the best of their faculties. As a consequence, the overall effectiveness of a course is increased and learners find it ever more interesting and are motivated to keep themselves engaged with it to the maximum.
  • I totally support the inclusiveness of such motivator reward elements like badges in MOOCs. They increase the effectiveness of a course visibly and extravagantly.

To get any of your doubts on this topic addressed by us and to contribute additional information on it, please feel free to share with us through the Comment Box.

About the Author
Author: Saomya Saxena
Educational technology blogger, loves to research and write about tools and tips for educators on how to integrate technology into everyday instruction creatively and effectively. Fond of reading and writing.

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