Learning Agents completes market study for cloud-based solution for Open Badges from Finland
June 27, 2014
Learning Agents has delivered a multi-sectoral market study to Discendum Oy, an innovative e-learning solution development company located in Oulu, Finland. The study explored the market readiness of a cross-sectoral sampling of Canadian sectors for online digital credentials based on Mozilla's Open Badge Infrastructure and the appetite for Discendum's cloud-based solution, openbadgefactory.com. Sectors investigated included K-12, Higher Education, vocational training, professional development, and industry associations focused on Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) and New Media, Manufacturing, Environmental Industries, the Public and the Non-Profit Sectors.
An Open Badge is digital image that represents a skill, accomplishment, interest or affiliation. It is visual, accessible online, and contains embedded metadata that includes trusted links to help explain the context, meaning, process and results of the activities which led to the badge. Because the system is based on an open standard, earners can combine multiple badges from different issuers to tell the complete story of their achievements — both online and off. Badges can be displayed wherever earners want them on the web, and share them for employment, education or lifelong learning.
Open Badges are increasingly seen as an accessible solution to recognize all forms of learning whether it be formal, non-formal and informal, enabling individuals to develop their own customized learning pathways to achieve their goals in life.
In June 2013, President Bill Clinton announced a Clinton Global Initiative Commitment to Action to massively expand access to Open Badges to improve the futures of two million students and U.S. workers. That goal was surpassed by June 2014, and the new commitment is for 10 million better futures worldwide by June 2016. See more at: Open Badges: 10 Million Better Futures.
Learning Agents' Canada market study found emerging interest in the higher education sector and great interest in the vocational training sectors, particularly among independent trainers and sector-focused training organizations whose credentialing needs are not well-served in the current Canadian environment.
Canadian organizations in Learning Agents' study viewed Open Badge Factory as a highly credible cloud-based solution, in part because it originates in Finland, a Scandinavian country which respects online privacy and demonstrates high student achievement, based on the OECD Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) study.
These Canadian organizations saw Open Badge Factory (OBF) as a robust solution for the following reasons:
- It is a centralized cloud-based system that works with other systems, and not an internal function of a particular platform such as a Learning Management System (LMS). This means that organizations can issue badges from multiple platforms, such as LMSs, ePortfolios,and HRIS systems and change those platforms over time without disturbing or fragmenting their badge system.
- It has an Open API with plugins already developed for Moodle, TotaraLMS and Mahara ePortfolio
- Open Badge Factory verifies the authenticity of all issuing organizations who apply to join the system.
- Issuing organizations can generate detailed reports about how their badges have been received, used, clicked on and ranked by target groups.
- Open Badge Factory is fully mobile, working with smart phones and tablets. This enables organizations to issue badges in more accesible ways, such as during sport or outdoor activities.
- Current features such as:
- Badge applications (forms-based requests for badges with supporting evidence)
- Milestone badges ("meta badges" made up of other badges)
- A development roadmap for Calendar 2014 that includes features such as badge sharing between organizations, multi-lingual badges and Badge Passports (micro-portfolios)
- Its reasonable cost: OBF is free throughout 2014, moving to a multi-level subscription model in early 2015. The maximum (Enterprise) level is currently scheduled at 1500 Euro per year. Basic and Premium levels are scheduled at 250 and 600 Euros per year.
Based on the market study, Learning Agents and Discendum Oy are collaborating on a rollout of Open Badge Factory in Canada.