Thursday, August 9, 2012

Badges, Assessment and Webmaker+

I am going to talk to you about some of my thinking around badges, assessment and the often talked about, but never before explained concept of Webmaker+.  

When we talk about the tools and resources that we are building at Mozilla we often contextualize them as learning experiences. So, for example, you might go to - find a project- make and publish that project and along the way gain some basic HTML skills. However, in our current model, you could very well walk away after publishing your project and have no realization that you just learned something. And- because of that, you might not be able to level up your tinkering to craftsmenship.  Check out the vidcast to hear more:

(and based on the unexpected fanclub I've gained from my singing on the last vidcast, I have some special singing action here for you today)

In the vidcast, I showed 4 wireframe iterations for incorporating badges and embedded assessment into Thimble.

Iteration #1:

I started to imagine the badges appearing as you accomplish various things, taking a cue from the Cheevos system. It would look something like this ^^ Cons: the badge is super intrusive and could be distruptive to the learners experience. Pros: the actual "ingredients" displayed in the badge

Iteration #2:


Imagine the orange tab subtly popping up almost as if it is coming out of the toolbar. You then have the ability to transition to the next slide where you can add the badge to your backpack and share via social media. But is this too subtle?

Iteration #3

badge icon in toolbar wiggle when you receive badges (nothing pops up till you click it)

on click, you can see your badges- so if you have earned 4 badges- it will appear as a slide show 


Iteration #4: Webmaker +



As you see here, we could add a nav bar that gives a user the ability to opt in to the community, once they join, they are essentially signing in to be part of the game. It then becomes almost like an exclusive layer that sits on top of the software- which by the way could be thimble and popcorn but also community designed tools. The badge here could actually reflect data that is unique to the user. So for example, if they indicated that they were trying to achieve the goal of learning HTML and earning the uber HTML basics badge, then the badge could reflect that progress as well.

Extra Iteration:

With Webmaker+, the badge backpack gets transformed into a user dashboard, where they could see their progress, but also control it- so they can set goals, join challenges, and add badges. 

This is an initial brainstorm. To get a better understand of what we are thinking about specifically at Mozilla in relationship to the badges that we issue, head over to Chloe Varelidi's blog ( Chloe, did the map I featured in the video). We have been talking about this webmaker+ layer for quite a while and have been letting the ideas percolate. 

In terms of feedback, I would love to hear from your thoughts, but specifically:

1.  If we were to implement the pink iteration (webmaker +) would the "dashboard" (last image above)  be something that lives uniquely on the webmaker site and leverages the Mozilla webmaker community, or would it be a more open ended tool that anyone, anywhere could tap into that gets featured and promoted through the Mozilla Webmaker site?

2.If you had the ability to curate your online learning and making - what kinds of stats would want to track?


Ross Bruniges said...

Of the 4 I believe that 4 has a good mix of being non-intrusive (something I liked about 3) and something that can easily be used accross a number of our othersites, and even sites not under our control if we plan the delivery method for it correctly.

Of course this plan might be more of a long stretch in regard to making it - but it feels like something to aspire to and use as a basis to work out what simple things we want first.

Kate Hudson said...

I also really liked the non-intrusive options -- both #3 and #4 seem like they would work well, #4 requiring some kind of unification of UI cues between all the webmaker apps.

It would be interesting if there could be some kind of initial state for a user when they first receive a badge, in order to teach them about what badges mean and how to interact with them, and a very non-intrusive notification after that. Would it work if a Webmaker+ bar started off very simple and options/components were added as the user spent more time on Popcorn/Thimble/Badges?

It would also be cool to do some reference work around what works and what doesn't in Growl, Apple's notification system, etc.

Mike Larsson said...

As I understand it, Webmaker+ offers both earner-driven and issuer-driven things: an earner can set a goal for themselves of earning a particular badge, or they can choose from a list of challenges set by any number of different issuers. I assume that ideally anyone and everyone in the Open Badges "ecosystem" can be a part of that: offer badges, create learning maps, offer challenges. But right now there's no way (that I know of) for different groups to do that in a consistent, standardized manner. So then one of two things happen: 1) we can say "If you use *our Backpack*, you can track your progress and have access to badges and challenges presented by *anyone using Open Badger*", 2) we wait until standards emerge/get defined before the real power of Webmaker+ as a community hub comes out. And actually, I think we can start with #1 and open up to #2 if/when those standards emerge.

So to answer question #1 from your blog post, I think Webmaker+ starts as a Mozilla Webmaker thing and could grow beyond that if other organizations all play nice.

As far as question #2, I skew towards the "leave me alone" end of the spectrum. I have less fun when I think someone's watching, where progress statistics can count as watching if they're too aggressive. I might find it interesting to have a high-level map of what badge categories I've earned lots of badges in, and what categories I've neglected to see potential fertile ground for learning. I might not be bothered by some sort of badges earned over time graph, but if it was like "You've earned 0.001% of the badges available!" I think I'd learn to just not look at it. Also anything that ranked me against others would probably just annoy me.

I do think the Webmaker+ design is the best though. If nothing else, it's nice just to have reusable widgets internally so the MoFo devs don't have to keep rewriting the same code.

Doug Belshaw said...

Hi Jess, epic video. :-)

I love what you've come up with the backpack. I know I said on the call last week that I thought it would be better on the Webmaker site rather than in the badge backpack, but I've changed my mind.

It totally makes sense to have a personal dashboard in with your personal badges, because then this allows you to bring in content (and badges) from elsewhere)

Great work! :-)

Jess said...

Thanks for your feedback. Of course this is not version 1, release 1 of the plan- but personally I find it useful to have a sense of the big picture and then find ways to bite off small chunks.

@kate I like the idea of an initial state for users when they first receive a badge.Yes, the idea is basically that the webmaker+ bar is dynamic, so it could change over time.

Overall- Im still not sure on where these components are all living. I think that the first step would be to get a proof of concept going.