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ΙστολόγιοArticlesThe power of Open Badges in youth empowerment
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The power of Open Badges in youth empowerment

2 Jan, 21:26
How can the visible changes in personal and professional growth be tangible? This was the question hovering in the mind of the youth workers of KASA Foundation (www.kasa.am), who were engaged in the project of empowering young people through civic education. For the whole duration of the mentioned project, the personal development and experience of the young people were very visible and clear for the youth workers, however; the question remained, how to justify in the annual reports or evaluations that this or that young person “obtained 2 kg of time-management skills, 3 kg of communication skills and 5 kg of project management skills, etc.”


Knowing Open Badges


The journey of searches brought us to Open Badges back in 2016. The first encounter with Open Badges was rather enthusiastic. The team was very pleased to obtain new skills, to use a new tool, curious to do experiments in their work, to see if this experiment would bring quality and the desired answers to the ever question of tangible results. I remember how each project team was indulged in creating corresponding badges in their projects-Youth Clubs, Training Course for Guides, Integration Project for Refugees, and many others. And then we had the period of using the elaborated thematic badges with the young people. It’s worth mentioning that, we, the youth workers, had quite hard time in convincing and reminding young people all the time not to forget claiming badges for some time. To accept and understand the NEW always faces resistance. We had various feedbacks from the young people at the end of the project, mentioning that sometimes it was interesting to get into the flow of collecting badges, sometimes not, as it brought additional responsibilities, etc. However, it was good in terms of measurements, tangibility and self-discoveries.


Journey with Open Badges


We have gone long way with Open Badges having involved this tool in different local and international projects, having produced an instructional manual on its usage, having delivered numerous workshops to local organisations and institutions on this topic since 2016. As an organization using Open Badges, we always try to find new ways of utilization and recognition of Open Badges. So, by the time many other activities with Open Badges have been created: MOOC for teachers, youth workers and educators on the topic of civic education, integrating badges with 3 layers in the principle of Learning by Doing)-(explorer, experimentor, idea generator). Currently more than 200 teachers and educators in Armenia use badges in this blended learning course. From adult learner projects to the creation of gamified youth work, Open Badges have always been included as a handy digital tools in KASA Foundation with different purposes- as a self-assessment tool or a tool of measurement, showcasing personal accomplishments, inflaming gamified spirit, etc.


Hermine Papikyan

Coordinator of Erasmus+ and ESC projects, youth worker

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