Digital badging systems as a set of cultural tools for personalized professional development

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Through design-based research, this study examines a digital badging system to support online, independent teacher Professional development (PD) in Science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) subjects. Sociocultural learning theory, in conjunction with the mediation triangle, provided a lens through which digital badging systems were examined as cultural tools for planning and wayfinding. This framework supported personalized teacher professional development in the digital badging system, Teacher learning journeys (TLJ), and the study examined teacher planning through goal articulation and wayfinding through teacher selection of professional development activities. Data consisted of teacher-generated artifacts, including goal statements, orientation activity reflections, intended PD activities, and completed PD activities. Data collection occurred during two 3-month iterations of teacher interaction with TLJ (I-1 = 30, I-2 = 29), and analyses were conducted using qualitative coding and statistical investigation including independent samples t tests and Pearson r correlations. Findings for teacher planning include a positive impact of reflective writing supports for activity completion, a broadening search for content, and four common objectives in written goal statements. Findings for teacher wayfinding discuss how participants used structures of the digital badging system for organizing and completing professional development in different ways. Analyses uncover differences in organizing intended professional development, three time-based patterns of use, and a non-significant relationship between intentions to complete an activity and the completion of activities. The intended and actual use of the TLJ system along with impacts on the teacher-leaners provide valuable insight into design considerations for developers and designers of independent teacher professional development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2615-2636
Number of pages22
JournalEducational Technology Research and Development
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education


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