Motivational effects of open badges in MOOCs. A learner perception study in OpenVM Learning Hub and MiriadaX
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Open Badges have become a metadata standard that has been used to transform digital credentialing practices in learning contexts including Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). Badges may be designed and used in diverse ways to enhance learner motivation in MOOCs. However, empirical research about the motivational effects of the badging process has been limited to anecdotal evidence. Objective: The goal of this study was to explore the motivational effects of open badges in MOOCs. The primary research question was whether and how open badges motivate participants to: a) learn in MOOCs, b) to complete MOOCs, and c) to use Open Badges outside of the MOOC environment. Method: An exploratory learner perception study was conducted in two platforms: OpenVM and MiriadaX. Both platforms issue Open Badges to recognize learning outcomes in MOOCs. The research sample included 1788 participants with diverse backgrounds, who participated in OpenVM (n = 1412) and in MiriadaX (n = 376) courses. Learner perceptions were self-reported via two online surveys, which included an aligned set of items in English (OpenVM) and Spanish (MiriadaX). Results: The findings show that regardless of the MOOC platform, the topic of the course and the language of instruction, MOOC participants were motivated by open badges, especially by an adequate description of the skills developed in the MOOCs. A regression analysis indicated that an adequate skill description in the open badges had the greatest predictive value for motivation to learn in MOOCs and to complete the course (r2 = 56.3%). The instrument with five items showed high internal consistency (α = 0.92).
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