The University of Arizona

A Content Analysis of the Emergent Scholarship on Digital and Open Badges in Higher Education Learning and Assessment

Noela A. Haughton, Priti R Singh


Higher Education has seen its fair share of innovations, many of which were made possible by digital technologies. Digital and open badges (DOBs) are emergent technologies that many believe could further reform, even disrupt, key tenets in higher education, including learning, assessment and credentialing. This study examined the emerging scholarship and best practices on DOB adoption in higher education through the lens of peer-reviewed publications. A content analysis explored two questions related to publication patterns and research goals (question 1) and assessment practices supported by DOBs and stakeholder perceptions of DOBs (question 2). Findings revealed non-empirical papers were more likely to focus on the reform-related potential of DOBs while empirical applications focused on traditional concerns such as student motivation and engagement, and conventional approaches to assessment. Stakeholder perception of the value and role of DOBs were also mixed. Limitations, implications, and further study are discussed. 




Content Analysis; Digital Badge; Open Badge; Higher Education Assessment; Student Learning

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