Welcome Wednesday 29 May 2013: Digital Badging

Badges from Smithsonian QuestsToday our SI Mobilizers were encouraged to attend the Digital Badging workshop hosted by the Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access (SCLDA) at the Hirshhorn’s ArtLab. The workshop was led by Jonathan Finkelstein of Learning Times and followed on from the talk by Max Anderson, Director of the Dallas Museum of Art, at SI on 23 April 2013: Rewarding Museum Participation and Learning: New Approaches”

Rob Stein, the DMA’s Deputy Director, and Bruce Wyman, who helped build the DMA’s digital badging system, published a paper about the project as well: Nurturing Engagement: How technology and business model alignment can transform visitor participation in the museum

Here is an incomplete list of current uses of badging at the Smithsonian (please help us add to it!):

  • Smithsonian Quests
  • Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum Education Department
  • Hirshhorn’s ArtLab
  • NMNH new Q?rius Education Center

Some opportunities with badges flagged by Jonathan Finkelstein and participants:

  • Badges are data-backed: so their value can be more transparent and shareable online;
  • Analog badging has been around for a long time, so there is much to learn from them;
  • Setting metrics of success for badging can help us set expectations at the right level for stakeholders and senior managers;
  • Developing standards for badges so they have value and meaning in a variety of contexts; transferrable to other institutions? (see how DMA is planning to collaborate with other museums on their badging “currency”);
  • SI digital badges can leverage other badges like 4Square;
  • Opportunity to get more from participants than we usually get when just awarding certificate, e.g. follow-on activities such as “Please write a blog post about your experience…”
  • Niche is where the value lies; how can museum badges fill a gap in “the market” for recognizing learning, even if a very small one?
Core, common elements in badging projects regardless of their detail and diversity:
  • Metrics of success
  • Evaluators
  • Marketing
  • Goals
  • Common types of probable outcomes
  • Data mining expert
  • Plan for implementing learnings
  • Target audience definition within standard characteristics/profiles to facilitate data collection
  • Key is recognition of the value of the badges by other respected organizations/individuals – gives credibility to the badge
Examples of strategic goals for badging:
  • getting new audiences engaged
  • marketing
  • improving visitor experience through data-mining their (non-)participation
  • encouraging & rewarding collaboration eg crowdsourcing, citizen science
  • increasing engagement and participation for established audiences
  • thank participants, relationship builder
Future of Museums is starting to use badging, e.g. program at AAM to earn a “futurologist” badge
How is marketing done for badging programs?
SI Mobile ideas for badging:

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