Digital Badges and Skills Recognition in Fab Lab

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    Digital Badges and Skills Recognition in Fab Lab

    Geoffroi Garon-paule, M.A., PhD StudentResearcher and PhD student in communication, UQAM (Montral, Canada)Entrepreneur Human Capital valorization, Digital PygmalionVice-president, Communautique (Living Lab + Fab Lab)

    Research paper presentation | Santiago, Chile, August 2, 2017

  • Key message Lifelong learning and the development of new skills are needed to

    contribute to a more interconnected, digital and increasingly complex world.

    Today, learning takes place through new collaborative spaces and open innovation (or third place). Fabrication laboratory (Fab Lab) is a great place to develop new digital skills and 21st century skills.

    We need new tools to evaluate and recognize learning in context.

    Digital badges as a sociotechnical device or digital social system fulfill this role by allowing credential to be generated via custom and shareable digital files.

    These files provide access to a set of metadata describing a skill, experience or achievement. The use of this type of microcertification makes it possible to evaluate and develop the skills acquired in formal and non-formal contexts.

  • Project

    The research mandate granted to the Community Informatics Lab at UQAM was designed to introduce the first pedagogical, technical and formal milestones of an open badge system that facilitates the recognition and development of skills and acquired skills through training and workshops of Fab Lab.

    Hub for experimentation and training in technological and social open innovation 8

    2011First in Canada


  • Theoretical FrameworkCommunity Informatics design (Harvey, 2014) is a new field of applied communication that proposes an original research intervention (a methodology) for the domain of codesign, in the context of learning organizations and smart cities (e-Services, online applications, platforms, virtual communities, innovation ecosystems) aimed at intentional social change. Applied science and a generic methodology which make it possible to make the bridge between the designer who seeks solutions by synthesis and the scientist by analysis.

    Digital social systems are complex communication spaces in which various types of subspaces are generated and evolved. It is a way of modelling new collaborative spaces and sociotechnical systems. They can take many forms and configurations such as: communities of practice and learning, Living Lab, MOOC, Fab Lab, creativity hub, help platforms, corporate portals, collaborative social networks, etc. Thus, we consider a system of digital badges as a digital social system.

  • Methodology We intervened in this exploratory research with an intervention research methodology based on Community Informatics Design.

    This methodological approach makes it possible to intervene directly in the environment and to contribute actively to the development of the project.

    The period of the project was from October 2015 to November 2016. Despite a little scientific literature, we carried out a documentary research and carried case studies in order to document the uses of digital badges in various contexts. As part of this research, we conducted several types of meetings and activities to validate our research and advance the project. (Canada, France, USA, China).

  • Results

  • Types of Competencies

    Digital skills (Cefrio, 2016)Three main families of competences form the digital skills:

    Technical skills: the ability to use technology effectively;

    Collaborative skills: the ability to collaborate and solve problems in technological environments;

    Cognitive skills: the ability to select, interpret and evaluate digital information.

    Skills of the 21st century (Remake learning, 2015) Collaboration, Communication, Creativity, Critical Thinking,

    Design Thinking, Empathy, Openness, Persistence, Prototyping, Research, System Thinking.

  • Digital Badges

  • Definition of digital badgeDigital badges is a digital file (web page) that is a visual representation of a learning or accomplishment. Its a tool that confirms the evaluation of specific experiences.

    They can be hosted, manage and shared across digital files containing a set of encrypted metadata that describe skill, experience or level of accomplishment.

    The use of certifications and digital badges (Belshaw, 2015;Davidson and Goldberg, 2009; Fleischman and Wallace, 2011; Friesen and Wihak 2013; Garon-paule, 2015; Gee, 2011; Grant 2014, Shepard 2011; Thomas and Brown 2011) will enable evaluation and valorization skills acquired in the formal and non-formal context of co-design and to improve the digital literacy of users, practitioners and citizens.

  • Netmath

  • Netmath

  • Makewaves

  • Mouse

  • Mouse

  • CADRE21

    For Teachers wishing to engage in an active approach to professional development, continuing education platform, CADRE21 provides personalized learning opportunities. It enables effective skills recognition through recognized digital badges. The skills involved are threefold: ICT skills, teaching strategies and classroom management. This provides flexible training, open and modular, aligns with the international standards of skills and standards. The CADRE21 supports the human capital development of schools across the international Francophonie.

  • CADRE21

  • Badge numrique : lcriture collaborative 1 - Explorateur


    IBM badge program


    IBM badge program


    IBM badge program

  • Microsoft





    HR Certification Institute

    Corporate digital badges

  • Advantages of digital badgesThe main advantage of this technology is to recognize formal and non-formal learning and generate confidence. There are also a host of other benefits such as:

    Valuing a greater diversity of learning and skills

    Mapping learning pathways

    Motivate the level of learner engagement and retention

    Recognize the different paths leading to a badge

    Develop and enhance cross-curricular competencies and skills that are often difficult to qualify (communicate, collaborate, creativity).

    Support the implementation and recognition of learning with pedagogical approaches based on skills and projects (learning experience).

    Increase the identity and reputation of learners

    Enabling learners to discover peers by interest in a community

    Increase the brand of an organization

  • The value is built around relationships among the different actors and the ecosystem that support digital badges.

    Issuer : Create and awards the badge

    Earner : Receive and communicate the badge

    Consumer : Recognize the value of the badge





    Digital badge value

  • The standard Open Badges were created in 2011 by Mozilla to ensure that badges may belong to the learner, to ensure safety, transfer to other platforms and sustainability of these in time. Since 2017, IML Global manage the standard.

    Technical aspect of digital badges

  • The administrative component (dashboard) can create badges, granting them to make effective management and value them.

    The user component (portfolio) presents itself as a portfolio in which students collect, manage and categorize their digital badges and above display for communicating and sharing (social media, website, etc.).

    Digital badge system

  • BackPack








    Acclaim Badgecraft Badgelist Credly Openbadge

    Factory -Passport






    Digital badge platforms

  • Digital badges uses

    Motivate the learner in his learning. Value the learner's actions by adding value. Recognize learning and experiences. Certify the acquisition of knowledge, the

    development of skills and abilities.

  • Uses of digital badge in Fab Labs


    Motivate, valorize , recognize, certify

    Digital badge prototype


    Make a drone Make a 3D printer

    Motivate, valorize, recognize, certify

    Non-formal training

    Digital badge prototype

  • Impacts of digital badges in Fab Labs to improve the evaluation process of training and


    better articulate and credibilize the offer of training offered in relation to market needs

    to foster the networking and connections between the actors of education and the labour market

    increase and support the development of skills for all and lifelong learning

    to encourage the inclusion of Communautique in the various discussions on the formalization of the corpus of competencies through digital badges

    contributed to the development of skills repositories in Fabs Labs in Quebec and internationally

  • Impact of digital badges develop new skills and new jobs for the future

    to contribute to the development of a free software platform of digital badge system

    transfer the tools and knowledge developed to other types of organizations and areas

    better position for popular education groups in emerging approaches to skill recognition and learning

    develop Qubec expertise in digital badges and develop relationships with international communities interested in the subject

  • Future research Digital badges in the context of organizations that have a

    Living Lab and a Fab Lab

    Creation of an open referential on the skills and uses of badges in Fab Labs Network

    Digital Badges and Blockchain Technology

  • Geoffroi Garon-paule, M.A., Ph.D Student@geoffroigaron -

    Researcher and Ph.D student in Communication,

    Entrepreneur, Digital

    Vice-president, Communautique (Living Lab + Fab Lab)

    E-mail : conseil@geoffroigaron.comPhone : +1 514 773-3332


    This work shall be made available in accordance with the Licence Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International.


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