http://www.hastac.org/files/imagecache/homepage_50/pictures/picture-113833-e0a499e02385d695cccad5701ae757af.pngBy Shawn Warren. As a start on the subject of badges I have read a sample of the DML Competition Q&As, analysis of and commentary on the subject from Davidson, Hickey, and others at HASTAC and the DPDP findings.
I understand that at least in part the origins of badges is from within the field of computer programming, where now sites like Freelancer have developed systems that track and display reliability, satisfaction, and other metrics through crowd input, involving peers of service providers and consumers that provide content for and have access to the metrics.  This is a wonderful system that has cousins in the emerging p2p systems like those that facilitate the private sale of goods and services, including banking.
I see utility in an electronic record of learning to all those interested in education - students, educators, employers, mom and dad.  Through my wife, who works in HCI, I have come to appreciate the advantages of many forms of ICT with real-time, interactive record-keeping of human activity that through the principles and tools of persuasive design alter attitude and behaviour (e.g., the PSD used in PHIs that address addiction and obesity or to encourage participation in social networks).  Through this lens I have also come to better appreciate the nature of badges. More...