How Badges Improve Elearning

Designing Digitally



If you are familiar with the video game environment, you know about badges. Most online games award badges for leveling up or getting a high score, for example. Badges represent achievements. In social media, you may have come across badges on Foursquare, Wikipedia, Tripadvisor, and so on. These badges are awarded to motivate users to interact with the platform. In eLearning courses, badges are used to motivate learners and keep them invested in the learning content. They are forms of recognition that are given to the learners for being proficient in certain topics, mastering a particular skill, or completing a specific task.

Why do you think badges provide the zing? Well, everyone loves to be recognized. When you receive something for your hard work and you can show it off to your peers, it makes you feel proud. And, if it is like a competition, you are motivated to outperform others. The more badges you earn the higher you climb on the leaderboard.

Here are three powerful reasons why eLearning badges have become so popular in eLearning.

#1: Encourages collaboration

In online communities, most of the content is generated by a small number of people. That means the opinions expressed are restricted to a few people. Digital badges can spur participation and collaboration. They entice people to take part in the discussion and voice their point of view. This leads creates diversity among opinions that can engage more individuals.

#2: Offers autonomy

Badges provide autonomy in several ways. The learners can choose which badge they wish to earn. They can customize their learning path according to the badging program they select. Basically, it gives your learners the independence to choose what they will learn. If it is a self-choice, then they remain invested in the course.

#3: Breaks into chunks

There are courses that are like a long learning journey. Learners tend to lose interest midway. The best way is to break the course down into small chunks or milestones. That way learners can go from one achievement to the other one at a time. Some badges can be treated as stepping stones to the path of higher achievements.

So how do you create badges that motivate your learners? Here are a few tips.

  • Analyze your audience. You need to know the learners that will earn the badges. Accordingly, you have to chalk out a plan on how to approach the process.
  • Be clear about the overall goal of the course and its learning objectives. That way, it will be easier for you to map the skills to the badge.
  • Decide on the level of difficulty and differentiate the badges. The higher the level, the better the badge should be. Do not give out badges for easy tasks and demote their importance.  
  • Work on the badge description. The copy should make the winner feel proud of his or her achievement. There may be a limited amount of space and you really need to think about how to get your message across. Ideally, the text should congratulate the winner and tell them why they earned this badge. It should also tell them why it is a great feat.
  • Make sure that you free the badges from your LMS. The learners should be able to show off their accomplishments even after they are no longer with your organization. So do not trap them in the tool. Let them share it freely.

eLearning badges may not be suitable for every course. But, they can be a great motivator for online learners. The trick is to find the right badge to fuel their interest.

With the rapid rise in eLearning and rampant availability of massive open online courses, more learners are opting for courses outside traditional colleges. That does not mean that traditional courses are losing their importance. It just means that there are credentials, other than university ones, that can illustrate individual competencies. In the near future, badges will continue to be a popular method of signifying learning achievements. Employers may even rely on these digital credentials for making hiring decisions. As more organizations start offering badges, there will be a need to verify their legitimacy.

At Designing Digitally, Inc. we create custom eLearning specific to your training objectives. Our courses ensure strong retention of information and provide innovative ways to change learner behaviors. Let us help you to come up with the best solution to educate and engage your learners.

Get in touch with our experts today to create training that will motivate your learners!