Andrew Law, Patrina Law, Open University
OpenLearn Informal learners mostly older and in full time employment – free online modules, starting to create digital badges which recognise achievement by creating an online record of engagement. Cloud based system that is open to load badges into. Ran pilots based on unsupported online courses and evaluated. Participants were motivated by getting a badge as a means of recognition even though there is no formal accreditation associated. Pilot students were less likely to have a degree already, more likely to be working and more likely to declare a disability.
Moving toward a focus on employability and skills development for both formal and informal learners. Benefits seen to be building skills and confidence for informal learners to help them move into more formal learning opportunities. Badged learners will now need to have read certain content and pass certain assessment criteria to earn their badge. Badges can be stored in their My OpenLearn profile, visible to others. Evaluation strategy will look at short terms and longer term, did it help students to move into formal learning and were they more prepared? Does it help with future employment prospects?