What are Moodle Badges?
Badges are a great feature in Moodle, used to motivate learners and increase learner engagement inside a course. This is a core feature and no plugin needs to be installed separately.
In this post, I have included two videos that will show you extensively how you can use the Badges feature in Moodle.
One of the most popular gamification techniques is issuing Badges to users. Badges are among the most visible elements of gamification, the use of game-thinking and game mechanics to engage your audiences.
On the screen now, I have some sample images from a mobile “runner” game – that should be instantly identifiable – because millions of people have played this game. Badges are issued when certain tasks are completed, or objectives are met.
Udemy platform itself very successfully utilizes a Badges framework to motivate it’s instructors. These are currently not deployed in the student section. (But completion certificates are issued to students to motivate them to complete 100% of the course 🙂 )
Badges were NOT invented by digital games as a motivation. The “Boy Scouts and Guides” movement, the automobile industry worldwide have been issuing badges with great success from many decades earlier! So, it is well known that a well designed badge system will work in achieving motivation and high engagement.
These exact same principles can be applied in Moodle. You can set up a Badge issual framework. These badges then will appear in the user’s profile pages.
In this lesson, I will show live examples from my Moodle course now – and then in the next lesson, you will see how to create badges for your own course in Moodle.
In the navigation block, from the “Current course” > Badges > will show you all badges currently in the system.
I currently have 4 badges created and actively enabled on my course – as seen in this table. Every badge will have an image, a name, a description, the criteria for which the badge is issued.
This screen is accessible to students also – so it is the location where they can see all the badges in the course – and make plans on how to achieve them. If the badge has been awarded to the current logged in user – then the last column gets a notification.
In this window, I have logged in as a student – and you can see badge notification first appears right on the dashboard page. And then it is also available inside the course in full detail.
A badges link is also available from the Profile dropdown. From this location, the student can then download the badges and display it on Linkedin, Mahara or other social platform – as an accomplishment.
Returning back to my account – the first badge configured in the course is the “Friendly Greeter” badge. This badge is configured to be manually awarded by a teacher or manager to a student who introduces themselves by making an entry in the “Getting to know you” glossary that we had setup in a earlier lesson.
Badges can be manual or automatic. In the latter case, Moodle will automatically issue badges to deserving students when a certain criteria that you configure is accomplished.
So, this is the big picture of how badges can be implemented. In the next lesson, I will show how you can create a new badge from scratch in complete detail.
Now, I will create a new badge from scratch and show you the whole process.
First and foremost, at the site level, course badges should have been enabled by an Administrator in Administration > Site administration > Badges > Badges settings. Once this is done, only then a teacher can add badges at the course level. In Moodle version 3.1.1, this is enabled by default.
Go to Administration block > Course administration > Badges > “Add a new badge link”.
This is the Badge creation page. Start first by giving a name. Next is the description field. Use this field to tell students how they can accomplish this badge in plain English. Setting criteria comes later.
The “Issuer Details” has come default populated for me – because I have set it in the Site Administration section – and it is inherited here. If this blank for you fill it in suitably. Issuer name is mandatory.
You can set a badge expiry date. Options are “never to expire” by default. Or you can set a hard fixed date. Or else you can even set a number of days from the issue date.
When you are all set click on the “Create badge” button.
OK, so far we have created the badge, but the awarding details have not yet been created yet. And we will do so now.
The page interface changes at this point (to a tabbed interface) and by default you are now on the “Criteria” tab – so do not get disoriented.
You have to now tell Moodle how, when and to whom this badge will be awarded.
There are 3 options available. You can manually issue to any student you choose. Or you can ask Moodle to automatically issue a badge upon an activity completion or whole course completion.
If you have never come across “Course Completion” criteria earlier – do not worry. This is a setting that is available when you first enable “Activity tracking” – and exactly same as how you set activity tracking criteria.
Just for demo, I will first select the “Manual” option. Here you can first select which role can issue the badge. One or more role can be chosen. You can select if any or ALL of the roles should approve the badge. All is an overkill usually. Choose any and save.
In fact from this point onwards, it is possible to build additional criteria logic from the dropdown. It will work exactly as we saw just now.
From the “Recipients” tab, you can select students name and manually issue badges to them.
I will not do this now, but show you a more complex use case. I will first delete the existing criteria.
Create a new criteria – to Activity completion.
When the screen reloads – you will be shown every possible activity from your course. ! This certificate I want to present when the student completes ALL the videos from the final chapter. Just notice the naming convention I have used 5.1, 5.2 and 5.3.
To do this scroll to the very bottom, select the activities.
Expand the next section which reads “This criterion is complete when” – you have the ANY or ALL option. Be very careful about this setting when you are creating badges. In this case I want the “ALL” option.
Save and return – notice Moodle has detailed the criteria that you have selected.
An automatic message will be sent out when the badge is awarded – and you can customize the message, if you want, in this message tab. I will leave it at default for now.
Now, comes the final part – you have to click the “Enable access” button to activate the badge. Complete caution is required now because this will not only activate the badge – but in the background it will run a script that will go into the database and find all students who are eleigible for the badge – and go ahead and award it.
Once the badge is awarded – the criteria and expiry settings can no longer be changed. Neither can the badge be revoked in Moodle. This is the reason that you should double check everything before you click the “Enable access button”.
When you are fully done – click on the enable access button and the badge will be created. The “Recipients” will auto-update and show the students who have been awarded the badge.
Also if you go back to the course level Badges screen, you will see your new badge being shown.
And with that – I will conclude this lesson. When correctly done, badges will be the most effective motivation factor in the gamification strategy that you adopt for your course. The right mixture of scarcity, accomplishment and completion is what makes the perfect “Badge” for your course.