Will http://openbadges.org/ create a new worldwide way to assess learning ?
It's an initiative launched by Mozilla Foundation.
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It is an interesting concept to receive a badge based on courses that you've taken. However, based on my (limited) knowledge of Open Badges, it seems to me that Open Badges does not "assess learning" but simply validates that you've taken a course. There is a big difference between taking a course on a subject and "knowing" the subject. Ultimately it comes down to the reputation of the institute that awards badges and to the criteria by which these badges are awarded. I fear that this may end up being another gimmicky to lure people into taking classes that may not really deliver a value.
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The difference with badges is that they are not based on the reputation of the institution, like traditional degrees and certification programs, though institution reputation and endorsement elements can provide additional value to a badge. The foundation of a badge is the learner, not the institution. Badges are evidence-based, so you can see the standard and criteria a learner had to meet and the evidence of them meeting it - it's all 'baked' into the badge's metadata that's hard-coded into the badge itself :)