Designing Digital Badges to Improve Learning in Virtual Worlds

Joey R Fanfarelli


Digital badges are digital indicators of achievement that are issued in response to a user action within a virtual environment. While badges have been successful in multiple domains, they do not always achieve their purpose. Past research indicates that this is likely a function of specific badging design and how well the badging system integrates with the system’s needs and goals. The present article examines how careful badge design can be used to facilitate pedagogy and learning in virtual worlds. It integrates educational and psychological theory to discuss several key uses and best practices of designing digital badges for virtual worlds, including assessing peer skill in multiuser worlds, fostering curiosity to drive exploration of the world, setting appropriate goals to structure learning about the world, and teaching users about the world through feedback. Both entertainment and educational applications are discussed alongside examples to better communicate how to integrate badges in virtual worlds.


Badges, Virtual Worlds; Learning; Motivation; Feedback; Goals

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