Badging is “Sticky” Learning

postitThink back through your own experiences as a learner, whether it was learning as a child, a youth or an adult.  Browse through both formal learning in school settings and informal learning experiences.  Think about elementary school, middle school, high school, college, summer camp, youth groups, learning you did on your own and learning with your friends and families.

What are your top two or three “velcro” learning experiences?  You know, the ones that really stuck to you?  The ones that made an impact on you?  The good ones–not the negative ones. 

Now, reflect on each of these learning gems–these moments that stuck with you to this day.  What was it about the learning experience that made an impact?  Was is the subject matter?  Was is the mentor?  Was it the process you experienced? What made the learning stick to you?  Why do you have such fond memories of that moment or time in your life?

For me, in almost every scenario, my “velcro” learning experiences were meaningful for a variety of factors:

  • I had choices.
  • I had an inspirational mentor.
  • It was fun–the process, the experience, and it was hands-on.
  • It was relevant and connected to my interests, my passions. It also helped me discover new interests and passions.
  • It was social–my peers were involved in some way.
  • I was allowed to experiment and take risks.
  • It was challenging, and at the same time, just on the edge of something that would be too challenging and difficult.

Our challenge as educators is to make learning “stick” for our students.  We are fortunate enough to live in a digital age–nothing short of a revolution, where learning can happen anytime, anywhere.  The Internet has changed how we access information, how we do business, how we think about ourselves and the world, how we connect with people and how we solve problems.  It is indeed an exciting time and a disruptive time in education.  We can no longer keep “doing school,” the same old way.

DigitalCitizen-MainDigital badge learning is one innovative approach that makes learning “sticky.”  It naturally integrates all the elements that make learning memorable, inspirational, relevant, adaptable and 21st Century.

When designed with intention and purpose, badge learning is an innovative learning approach that invites kids to pursue their interests, dig deeper in the learning, seek out experts and “coaches,” collaborate, take risks, explore, develop prototypes and even help create the learning pathways and review peer work.

Please share your “velcro” learning experiences and any adventures with badge learning that you have explored within your classroom or school.  What can we learn from those experiences?






Sticky Note Photo by PeterisB

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