Open Digital Badges in a Business Communication Classroom

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A digital badge program was introduced into four sections of an undergraduate business communication course. Digital badges were framed as a way of helping students use classroom achievements to professionally brand themselves. Two course sections employed a “gamification” scheme to see if differences existed between gamified and non-gamified versions of the course in terms of the number/types of badges earned and students’ attitudes towards the badge program. The same badges present in the gamified sections were present in the non-gamified sections. However, badges in the non-gamified sections were not associated with points, since the gamification scheme was not applied. The only rewards offered to students in these sections for earning badges were the satisfaction of earning the badge itself and the ability to showcase that badge with future employers. While not all students actively participated in the badging program, differences in performance and attitudes existed between the gamified and non-gamified versions of the course.