Exploring Digital Badges in University Courses: Relationships between Quantity, Engagement, and Performance

Joseph R Fanfarelli, Rudy McDaniel


Digital badging research is gaining momentum as instructors and administrators consider new models for assessing learning in nontraditional contexts (e.g., informal science learning programs, flexible online courses, adaptive learning systems). While many studies are examining the effectiveness of digital badges for pedagogical functions, such as motivating students, few attempts have been made to identify relationships between the number of badges earned by a student and badging effectiveness. The exploratory correlational study presented within this article addresses this gap by examining these relationships, relating number of badges earned in a pilot course to performance and engagement-related metrics. The results are further categorized by demographic groups to identify starting points for future research. Several relationships were identified, providing initial evidence of the importance of studying number of badges earned and how that number impacts effectiveness. The evidence suggests value in conducting large sample empirical research on the presented factors.


Digital Badges; University; Higher Education; Performance; Engagement

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.24059/olj.v21i2.1007