Certain kinds of knowledge and skills are not necessarily acquired through formal education. Mozilla has embarked on an initiative that uses gamification to help ensure recognition for skills gained informally.
Learning on the job doesn’t make you any less competent at what you do – sometimes quite the opposite in fact. However this kind of learning tends not to be recognised by a formal diploma or bring you the sort of experience than can be added to your CV. This is also true for extra-curricular courses, online learning or running a project in collaboration with other people. In an effort to rectify this situation, Mozilla has now launched its Open Badge platform, a project which enables anyone to obtain recognition for qualifications obtained through less well-trodden paths. Along the lines of the scout movement, achievements are rewarded with badges.
Recognition and employment opportunities
The principle is as follows: ‘Learners’, i.e. individuals with knowledge acquired or skills learned informally, can register with the Mozilla platform and receive badges from partnering training organisations. These badges can then be seen on Learners’ personal pages, and they can also post them on their profiles on the various social networks. The advantage for the Learners is that this process enables them to gain some recognition for their work, even though they cannot point to strictly academic achievements, and therefore helps to attract potential employers.
And what’s in it for companies?
The ‘Issuers’ – i.e. the organisations which issue the badges – also obtain benefits from the system in that they gain recognition and the chance to raise their own profile. Whereas previously they might not have been actually accredited to award diplomas, they are now able to gain some credentials for the transfer of knowledge and know-how that they impart to their learners. Some major private companies and government organisations have grasped the value of this kind of initiative. Disney-Pixar and NASA are among the current Issuers, soon to be joined by the United States Public Broadcasting Service (PBS), Intel and even the US Department of Education.