Online Scaffolding in Digital Open Badge-Driven Learning

Sanna Brauer, Anne-Maria Korhonen, Pirkko Siklander

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


Background: Digital open badges support competence-based professional development and criteria-based assessment of competences in digital environments. As the use of digital badges is growing rapidly, there is a need for in-depth pedagogical understanding to enable effective classroom application.
Purpose: This study seeks to examine the stages of online scaffolding and instructional badging in the digital open badge-driven learning process. We researched students’ experiences of scaffolding in badge-driven learning.
Sample: Data were collected from group online interviews (n = 6) with trained Finnish vocational teachers (n = 17) and students of vocational teacher education (n = 12) who earned badges of digital pedagogical competences in the national Professional Development (PD) programme called ‘Learning Online’.
Design and methods: This qualitative study was conducted via data-driven content analysis. Hierarchically inclusive relationships were analysed in an ongoing comparison to examine the stages of scaffolding in the digital open badge-driven learning process. The findings were mapped against Salmon’s five-stage-model to represent individual and group thinking regarding a specific concept at a particular time.
Findings: The findings reflect students’ experiences and provide insights regarding the optimal form of assessments and scaffolding. They further illustrate the challenges and opportunities involved in badge-driven learning from the perspective of professional development.
Conclusions: Based on the findings, we raise questions for further research and suggest a practical approach to help teachers to plan and conduct scaffolding and instructional badging in the digital open badge-driven learning environment.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)53-69
JournalThe Journal of Educational Research
Early online date2018
Publication statusPublished - 2019
MoEC publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • competence-based-approach
  • digital open badges
  • professional development
  • scaffolding

Field of science

  • General education


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