The Importance of a Digital Backpack

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Today we are seeing all kinds of great features popping-up in the elearning space – one of which that is really gaining in popularity is the use of gamification within courses.

There are multiple ways to incorporate this, but when it comes to elearning, the most popular by far has been the ability to issue badges and points for completing courses, lessons, and quizzes.

For the learner, these badges and points are added incentive for completing course content. They provide a visual representation to what they have achieved – and depending on how it’s used, these can be “cashed-in” for prizes or other rewards.

This type of gamification is available on a handful of platforms, but never has it been easier to implement than on WordPress. In fact, there are many options out there in the form of both free and paid plugins.

That said, there is one important aspect of these programs that you must consider – can learners take their achievements with them?

This is often referred to as the “digital backpack”, and as learner, it is a very real incentive to any achievements based program. Earning points and achievements is great, but these can only do so-much good if they exist only on the site that they were obtained on.

It is ideal that users can take their achievements with them. Whether they are earning points or badges on a cooking site, and then the next day for a professional institution, it just makes sense to allow that learner to compile these achievements into a central, platform-agnostic location.

When I think about MOOC offerings today, I see a huge opportunity and wouldn’t be surprised to see some form of “achievement backpacks” implemented in the near future (if it isn’t already).

If you’re implementing elearning (especially on WordPress) choose a solution that makes it easy for users to take their learning with them. In the short-term, a centralize achievements platform might work, but a program with long-term considerations certainly needs this kind of functionality. This trend will quickly become the norm in digital learning, you may as well set the proper foundation from the start.

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About the Author:

Justin Ferriman is the co-founder and CEO of LearnDash, the WordPress LMS trusted by the world's leading organizations, such as the University of Michigan, Digital Marketer, WPEngine, and Infusionsoft. Justin has made a career as an elearning consultant where he has implemented large-scale training programs for Fortune 500 companies. Twitter | LinkedIn

One Comment
  1. John SaYer

    “Achievement Backpacks” what a great tag! As somebody who has been involved in student records now for more years than I would like to admit to and have been struggling with the whole concept of the transportability of student records for most of that time. The closest I have come to achieving any sort of the required transportability of the record is the use of a e-portfolio alongside of a SMS or LMS.

    What is realy needed is a set of standards that can be used in the creation of the student reord in the first place so as the record (file) can be passed from one system to another similar to SCORM.

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