Over the past five months, the arrival of the coronavirus has changed almost overnight our way of living together, our appreciation of what is important in life, and our expectations for the future. Whether these are lasting changes or whether a vaccine or drug has been found that will cause much to return to the old is still uncertain.

Besides being a global health crisis, it is also a major social and economic crisis. And in relation to our work and education, it is affecting the way we work and learn in an unprecedented manner. For example, the pandemic has forced some people to question if what they have been studying will still be relevant because of uncertainty over what the future holds.

Resilience of individuals, communities and economies

And as our world and the world of work changes, we need to be able to communicate and adapt. And we need to be more resilient and able to manage our response to change — the pandemic has highlighted how important these attributes are. And how fragile the approach of formal education is, with formal education buildings closed. These rigid structures are not helpful when an open and innovative approach is needed.

When we embrace an open approach like Open Badges, learning and recognition that happens outside ‘bricks and mortar’ can be captured and recognised.

But: “Open Badges are not just a new technological Open Standard but the manifestation of a certain view of the world, on how the recognition of lifelong learning could (and should) work” as Open Recognition Belgium stated. The word “open” is fundamental in this. An open approach has five fundamentals, and defined by opensource.com as follows:

  1. transparency
  2. inclusivity
  3. adaptability
  4. collaboration
  5. community

With these fundamentals all stakeholders involved in the field of lifelong learning can embrace the future of learning with a real open innovative approach to rethink learning recognition. And fuel themselves with an innovative mindset that changes the way they see, think and act. 

The contribution of Open Badges to rethinking learning recognition

“Skills and training are also of key importance in the context of the economic recovery after the Covid-19 pandemic. Therefore, the World Employment Confederation-Europe calls for a focus on the recognition of prior learning, the validation of non-formal and informal learning and a renewed focus on apprenticeships and dual learning”.

As MIRVA partner Serge Ravet wrote earlier: “When addressing the issue of recognition of informal learning, what is generally explored is the formal recognition of informal learning: under which conditions official authorities recognise informal learning, so it could be further recognised by other stakeholders like potential employers or clients (for the self-employed). Yet, informal recognition of informal learning exists, for example when a technician is promoted engineer by an employer, but this recognition tends to remain local. Open Badges are changing that by providing the opportunity to make local recognition global.”

MIRVA Badge Cuisine – Let’s cook some tasty badges!

So, how the future of learning and recognition of learning will look like is uncertain. Being able to tackle the problems that comes with this uncertainty adults face many challenges. For example re-entrance to the labour market, especially to tackle long-term unemployment or focussing on permanent re-skilling to enable all citizens to keep their competences updated and quickly respond and adjust to possibly fast changing work environments.

One of the aims of MIRVA is to inform practitioners, employers, public authorities and technology providers on the opportunities offered by Informal Recognition.
On July 7 a MIRVA online event took place: Badge cuisine. The event was organised in three parts. First about the REVE framework, then several stories of people who want to recognise were shared and then a cooking session took place to create badges.

REVE

During the event the REVA framework was presented. Recognition of Experience – Validation of Acquired experience (recently updated from REVE, where the last E stands for Experience) is a framework that is a MIRVA contribution to increasing the transparency and trustworthiness of qualifications and credentialing systems.

While someone’s experience is often multidimensional or multidisciplinary, unfortunately most actual processes related to recognition of prior learning and achievements are aligned against existing programmes and diplomas, which are essentially non-multidisciplinary. The consequence of this alignment is:

  1. It is not possible to recognise 100% of one’s experience as only part of it can be recognised by one specific diploma
  2. It is not possible to recognise 100% of the person as the process is often costly and rigid
  3. It is often not possible to recognise emerging knowledge and skills, as there is often no curriculum, diploma or formal framework to be aligned to

The idea is to establish REVA in the manner of a ‘blank diploma’.

  1. Recognition: the person collects informal (and also formal) recognitions in her social and professional environment
    • Communities of practice are the center of gravity of informal recognition processes
  2. Validation: These informal recognitions are recognized formally by an organization authorized to conduct REVA, e.g. a university, a sector business skill council, an awarding body, etc..
    • This formal recognition is validated at level 1 to 8 of the European framework.

Personas

Another aim is to contribute to the empowerment of individuals taking a greater role in the recognition of their own achievements and those of others.
By introducing personas individuals and stakeholders involved in the recognition process are encouraged to be empowered or to empower.
The personas were drafted around the following three topics, taking into account multiple personas and their related questions and topics:

  • Education
  • Employment
  • Social & culture

Badge Cuisine

The MIRVA partners then opened the Badge Cuisine, where together with the attendees recipes with the basic ingredients (metadata) for a badge were designed and ‘cooked’. Open Badges open the “space of recognition” far beyond formal recognition. While competency Badges have the advantage of providing a finer level of granularity to the recognition process, the recognition process itself remains in the conformance quadrant (formal/traditional): badges tell what the person was able to do in the past, information from which one can infer possible future performance.
contributes to bridging the gap between informal and formal recognition of learning achievements.

You can view the complete Badge Cuisine recordings through this link.

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