Why do humans like their achievements acknowledged by a bit of paper? I may be making a generalisation but I am assuming, based on observation and discussions over time, that this applies to a lot of people.
I started pondering this whilst waiting for my certificate for the Internet History Technology and Security MOOC I recently completed. I loved the course, learnt lots and am no doubt enriched for the experience. And yet I am sat here waiting for a bit of paper. I am also fairly certain I would feel a great sense of disappointment should I not get my certificate. Obviously I would get over it but there would none the less be a sense of short term deprivation.
I noticed, and have discussed this, in my recent Open Learning MOOC provided by the Open University. The Open University used a system of Mozilla Open Badges which is “a new online standard to recognise and verify learning”.
To me this was a step up from certificates! Online digital badges that you can take with you and add to whatever platforms you use. As soon as I achieved them they went straight on my blog. I am not by nature a show off but I had no qualms about pasting these all over my blog!
Maybe it comes from years of being in an institution that tells you that achievement is measured by results which have to be backed up by a certificate. Schools drum it into us that we have to attain certain levels, sit an exam to prove it and then wait for a bit of paper to tell us and others what we have achieved. Although I have only taken courses that offer statements of accomplishments I wouldn’t be put off doing a course because it didn’t offer one. I am doing it for the learning experience, the connections and to strengthen my personal learning network. The certificate is the icing on the cake and something to add to my CV.
I suppose certificates and badges are a bit like photographs. You don’t need a photo to tell you had a good time (or in the case of a course, learnt something) but it is nice to have a physical reminder and sometimes you might want to share it with someone.
In the meantime I continue to wait for my certificate…………