IMS partners with Mozilla Foundation to accelerate adoption and interoperability of badges in the education and workforce sectors.
“We are pleased that IMS has decided to partner with us to help with the evolution, adoption and promotion of Mozilla Open Badges,” remarked Mark Surman, Executive Director, Mozilla Foundation. “IMS has a unique focus on educational technology worldwide that we’re sure will enable substantial progress.”
We’re calling it the IMS Digital Credentialing Initiative (announced today here), IMS DC, but most people are probably just going to call it IMS Badges.
Many thanks to our friends at Mozilla Open Badges, the MacArthur Foundation, and the Badge Alliance for helping make today’s announcement possible.
Everyone knows that IMS is always leery of technology that is overhyped in the education sector (see Learning Impact keynote focused on “disruption” and the hype cycle). New technologies are just tools. It’s really all about how those technologies support where education needs to go.
Two hot topics that are receiving a lot of hype these days are Competency-Based Education (CBE) and Badges (meaning digital badges ala the Mozilla Open Badges specification).
Interoperability is the thing IMS tries to get right for our community/eco-system. Interoperability is all about enabling innovation at scale. Lot’s of great stuff can happen at small scale – but it is a foundation of interoperability that enablies leveraging of a community investment. Jumping in early in the cycle is not necessarily a bad thing – indeed, being somewhat ahead of the market is good for interoperability. But, our IMS members expect us to make good decisions with respect to what we focus our time and resources on. So, we are always using all our market engagement to determine if something receiving hype “has legs” and can “cross the chasm” into mainstream adoption.
However, IMS had already jumped into Competency-Based Education in a very big way and NOW will be making a substantial new investment (hiring 4 additional staff, the leaders from the group known as the Badge Alliance) partnering with Mozilla to advance educational badges.
IMS thinks that CBE and Badges are probably going to become intertwined as both progress into the future. CBE, at its most broad interpretation, is about relaying information about what a person is capable of doing, ideally including evidence. The current Mozilla Open Badges specification is, in our opinion, the best work so far in enabling a digital representation of the accomplishment and the rubric. So, IMS believes we can do something good with the combination of these two ideas, something that can apply to all levels of education (K-12, HED and Corporate Education/Training).
IMS also believes that that Badges have an obvious role to play in terms of what they seem to be used for mostly now – capturing some sort of extra-curricular activity that can be vouched for in some way.
What IMS will bring to this in addition to our 300 member organizations, our partnerships with AACRAO and C-BEN (Competency-based Education Network) is that we know a thing or two about interoperability. We also happen to have some leading specifications that are all about enabling capture of educational progress and data (IMS ePortfolio, IMS Learning Tools Interoperability, IMS Caliper Analytics, IMS Question & Test Interoperability) – see architecture diagram below.
Thus, our goal is to see if we can help establish badges as a common currency in educational credentialing in at large scale by providing the necessary interoperable foundation. In short, we think this is going to be a very productive marriage!