Individual Learning Plans and Digital Badges

Individual Learning Plans (ILPs) are common across the country. Whether your state calls them ILPs, Student Success Plans, or some other name, students are asked to think about their goals and how they want to achieve them.

All too often, though, the ILPs are just seen as a side activity; the students write down some goals, but don’t really have a way to follow up.

With Digital Badges, students can have a concrete way of following through on their goals. Whether they are setting academic goals, thinking about their potential careers or college majors, or looking to grow along some social / emotional dimension, students can  link their goals to digital badges. Richer Picture has a couple of methods for handling this.

First, students can set up a personalized badge. Suppose a student is interested in a career in health care. When setting the goal, the student is asked, “what steps can you take this year to move towards that goal?” The student might respond with, “I can do a job shadow with a nurse,” “I can make sure I pass my science class,” and “I can learn CPR at my local Red Cross.” In Richer Picture, this list becomes the evidence for the badge. When a student does any of the things on this list, they can upload evidence – a picture from a job shadow, a piece of work from science class, or a scan of a CPR certificate – into the system. This provides a way for students to show evidence that they have worked towards their goal.

Second, schools can have school-defined badges that represent the activities already in place at the school. A school’s badges can simply be a list of extracurricular activities, extended learning opportunities, or community service projects that the school offers. (Some of the activities might be embedded in the ILPs, such as completing an O*NET career profile or taking a skills inventory.)  Many students, when setting their goals, often don’t know all the opportunities that are available within their school or district. When students set their goals, they can see a list of these activity badges, and select those that make sense. Again, as the student participates in the activities, they can indicate that they have moved towards the goals.

We want ILPs to be more than an empty exercise; when students set goals, we want them to be able to follow through. Digital Badges can help.

You can learn more from our archived webinar on Individual Learning Plans.