4. Certification of learning and collaboration in PRIMER
Certification of the learning achieved, as well as the collaborative research and organisational activity, carried out within PRIMER initiative, is done through the multi-skilled digital certification standard Open-Badge. In addition, the participating institutions may issue other type of certification using regular formats and protocols, and the badges achieved can be exchanged for academic credits through the involved institutions.
Multi-skilled Digital Certification: Open-Badge
A badge is a symbol that acts as an indicator of achievement, skill or quality. Its use confirms learning and skills acquired in open environments online. The badges provide answers to a number of key questions in all open participatory process: How can be ensured that a person has truly followed with interest a reading, a debate, a working group... when they are not face-to-face events? Is it possible to use a visual standard to show that someone has some skills, which might be indeed essential in wikis, crowdsourcing projects and areas of scientific/ technical debate? What improvements and new knowledge have been acquired as a result of participation in online working groups? The people who have longest run the way looking for answers (and applicable standards in each case) are the guys of Mozilla Foundation and the Peer to Peer University with their Open Badge project (http://wiki.mozilla.org/Badges), though also Yahoo! Research has published an interesting article on the topic, "The social psychology of badges”.
The model of multi-skilled digital certification used -following Mozilla's "open-badge" standard- allows the creation of digital portfolios. These offer a digital profile of personal or collective capacities which is broader, more dynamical and more flexible than traditional curriculum-vitae. The following figure shows an example of Badges-Backpack for a user registered in Mozilla's certification system.
In the adjacent box you can access to the certification provided so far within PRIMER framework. However, beyond these individual certification, PRIMER's acknowledgement of acquired competences follows a systematic approach aiming at addressing at a time the modular and flexible architecture of learning pathways (depending on different starting points and application purpose) with the learning in principles and basic components. The latter allow in general the systematic integration of knowledge coming from different disciplines, according to the IDS model.
This systematic integration is reflected in the modules/badges architecture in which a progression is started at the fundamentals level, located - as shown in the figure - in the center, towards a progressive acquisition of basic competences, tools and learning supplements or advanced applications. The module of fundamentals intends to provide a general orientation for the rest of the planned learning and a critical justification of it. Immediately around, the set of central skills is located, containing the core modules aligned to the three pillars of the IDS approach (Innovation-Design-System) and tools (optative) which facilitate its later development over applied areas. The acquisition of these central modules acknowledges the mastery of basic competences above which advanced ones can be added.
Given the thematic integration of modules, whenever a sets of badges is completed the accreditation of a advanced learning pathway is acknowledged corresponding to an expert, specialist or master degree (supported by one or more of PRIMER institutions).