Conference sneak preview, General

common sense is Official Badger at eLearning Africa

For this year’s eLearning Africa (eLA) trade fair in Kigali (Rwanda), common sense will show an innovative way of mapping and verifying  learning results, and to make skills and qualifications visible through different institutions and environments. Our eLearning experts  will highlight the potential of open badges and foster discussion on new learning recognition formats through an engaging campaign in collaboration with the eLearning Africa trade fair organizers and Open Badge Factory (OBF).

Why Open Badges

Learning takes place in formal and informal processes and begins when learners engage in activities such as courses, discussions, research, training, events, or conferences like eLearning Africa. Informal learning components are critical to sustainable change but are often overshadowed by formal courses such as those offering certificates. In recent years modern technology has expanded informal learning, enabling learners to access knowledge from multiple sources, globally and in real time. However, this has also widened the gap between a person’s visible, formal learning and their often invisible, informal learning activities.

Open Badges can close the gap between formal and informal learning by recognizing competencies, skills and achievements from extracurricular activities and online courses. Technically, an Open Badge is a digital image with metadata detailing the issuer, recipient, and criteria. More than just an image, it is a verifiable digital credential that adheres to the Open Badge standard developed by the Mozilla Foundation and 1EdTech. Badges can be shared on social media, included in skills passports, or listed on CVs. Furthermore, Open badges are portable, integratable, verifiable, and traceable.

Key benefits include visualizing and managing informal learning, linking it to formal outcomes, recognizing prior learning, aiding talent recruitment, motivating and retaining employees, and facilitating skill mobility across organizations.

The infrastructure for creating badges is provided by the Finland Open Badge Factory (OBF) project consortium, launched in late 2013. This innovative, user-friendly, and cost-efficient platform enables organizations worldwide to create, issue, and manage Open Badges, with ongoing research to assess its effectiveness across various educational and corporate settings.

Our contribution to the eLearning Africa 2024

As digital badges gain more and more importance in eLearning, the badge concept will  showcase the potential of this modern form of recognition. By using digital badges, it aims to enhance participation and engagement throughout the conference, spark a deeper dialogue about digital educational credentials, and bridge the gap between current technology and future opportunities.

Therefore, common sense will award three special badges to promote a culture of recognition: the eLearning Africa Visitor 2024 Badge for all participants, obtainable via QR code and online registration; the eLearning Africa Contributor 2024 Badge for those contributing through exhibitions, presentations, or workshops, distributed via email or QR code at the event; and the eLearning Africa Insider Badge for individuals demonstrating deep engagement with eLearning Africa’s goals, earned by passing an online quiz which participants can take directly at the booth of common sense.

These open badges are mobile, shareable on social media, and endorsed on behalf of common sense – eLearning & training consultants and eLearning Africa/ICWE, enabling broader recognition of skills, contributions, and knowledge within the eLearning community of eLearning Africa 2024. All participants such as company representatives, policymakers, eLearning experts, and students, as well as exhibitors and speakers can earn a badge. Whoever gets a taste for this innovative tool can visit the common sense stand for expert advice and explore how digital badges can be integrated into their own learning strategies and programs.

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