Whether you call them microcredentials, trophies, or badges, the idea of documenting progress and making trends visible is becoming increasingly popular across increasingly diverse digital platforms. While this approach fits naturally into literal games, “gamifying” a system that isn’t first a game is a new approach that dovetails nicely into elements of social media, where aggregating is effortless and curating is second nature.
The Smithsonian Institute, the , and the U.S. Department of Education all use a model called BadgeStack, a set of gamification tools built by LearningTimes that enable badge-based learning.
Now in version 2.0 (v2.0), these tools allow you to gamify a variety of formal and informal learning processes, offering stunning potential with the right kind of thinking. Staring at the badges and wondering what the big deal is won’t get you anywhere, nor will slapping them on your website and forgetting about them. But with the right kind of integration with your unique business mode—your audience, product, and brand—and the suddenly your users are interacting with your content like never before.
Think of this like twitter opening their API so that it can integrate with other platforms. That kind of integration has potential only limited by the imagination of a programmer, superintendent, or CEO.
Open Source & Internet-Wide
No matter how great, software that’s closed-source and proprietary is automatically less cool. Close-source programs can require licensing, integration with other programs, or even physical hardware to implement.
Good thing then that BadgeStack is open source. Built around the also-open-source WordPress code, BadgeStack is also Mozilla-compliant, which allows “badges earned in BadgeStack-empowered communities to be managed and shared by learners virtually anywhere on the web, for life.”
While gamification:distance learning::whip creamr:pumpkin pie, the advent of quality, flexible, open source gamification tools signals the ends of excuses for a broader set of users to experiment with gamification. Perhaps you’ve kicked the idea around, but are too busy with other projects to do such a project justice.
BadgeStack might just be that small push you need to stuff your previously-staid content chock full of chic-looking microcredentials.