Using Learning Pathways and Digital Badges to Support Early Student Success and Retention

Using Learning Pathways and Digital Badges to Support Early Student Success and Retention

Digital On-Ramps worked with Dr. Betts to create a Learning Pathway course: “APA Mini-MOOC”

Learning pathways and digital badges provide unique opportunities to student success in higher education. Learn how Dr. Kristen Betts has been working collaboratively with graduate students and faculty in the School of Education as well as Drexel academic support services to develop and launch an APA Mini-MOOC for students—MOOC standing for Massive Online Open Course. 

The free online Mini-MOOC has been designed for (a) new students who have been accepted to Drexel University as way to engage them early in APA writing style and to decrease enrollment melt; and (b) current students who would like to increase their mastery of APA writing style. This presentation will walk you through the development of a learning pathway using digital badges and discuss how digital badges are being used in a variety of ways to support critical 21st century skills as well as foster an early connection to Drexel University with newly enrolled students. The presentation will also take a tour of the APA Mini-MOOC to illustrate how to connect digital badges with Blackboard.

This course contains seven different mini-badges leading to an eight mastery badge and is open for incoming graduate students to refresh their knowledge on how to write in the APA style. Students receive a digital badge after completing each module. This rewards their achievements along the way, helping to motivate them to complete the course. However, the course is completely self-paced and will remain open with no end date.  This allows students to complete the work over multiple quarters. Check out the graphic to see the learning pathway! 

LRNG Philly

Looking to transform your youth program?

Join LRNG Philly!

Join our free initiative and gain access to an online platform for creating Learning Pathways and Digital Badges. LRNG Philly works with youth programs focused on workforce development, STEM, arts, education, and other interests. 

What is LRNG?

LRNG is a national initiative with a digital platform that enables young people to pursue their interests and passions via learning pathways called Playlists that allows them to earn a Digital Badge.

LRNG is involved in multiple cities across the country. Each city is a network of organizations that use LRNG with their youth programs. Youth programs use Playlist and BAdges to provide their students with an exciting new way to learn and connect to opportunities. 

What are the benefits to my learners?

  • Connected a visual learning pathway that help them track their learning progress and motivate them to complete the next activity and eventually earn their Digital Badge.
  • Access to local and national Playlists that connect to a variety of interests and careers.
  • Use LRNG to add share their accomplishments via social media and LinkedIn or with employers, teachers and metors.

What are the benefits for my organization?

  • A new innovative way to present your curriculum and activities.
  • Online tools to track and report on learning outcomes.
  • Connect to a network of organizations in Philadelphia and across the nation.
  • Free access to LRNG for 2018! Also includes free training and implementation assistance from Digital On-Ramps at Drexel University.



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Digital On-Ramp: Work in Review

Over the past several years, Digital On-Ramps has worked to provide a variety of technical tools to assist our partner organizations in their training programs and help job seekers connect with employers. This video was created to help document the impact Digital On-Ramp's work has had over the years and to acknowledge the amount of effort provided by our partner organizations.

Thanks to Philadelphia Academies Inc., Urban Affairs Coalition, and the Office of Adult Education for taking the time to make this video and for all of your support over the years.

PAI offers Early Child Education badges via LRNG Philly

During the summer of 2016, 25 students from Parkway West High School experienced digital learning and badging with LRNG through Philadelphia Academies, Inc.’s Experience in Education internship program. The summer internship program is an extension of school year programming at Parkway West High School, which includes three years of in-school instruction and a school year practicum experience. Students who successfully complete all classes and activities are eligible to earn a Child Development Associate (CDA) Credential, a nationally recognized entry level credential for Early Childhood Education.

During the summer, Parkway West students worked at six different high quality childcare centers in West Philadelphia and Center City. The interns worked onsite Monday through Thursday, then participated in CDA-aligned professional development on Fridays on LRNG. Two playlists were developed for LRNG to support this work: ECE Health and Safety Basics and ECE Professional Skills.  First year students participated in the Health and Safety Basics playlist, which consisted of Local and Digital XPs: FEMA Multihazard Planning for Childcare, CPR Training and Certification, Choking Hazards for Kids, Child Nutrition, Hand washing for Preschoolers, and Fire Safety. Second and Third year students participated in the more advanced ECE Professional Skills playlist, with six Digital XPs: Get Physical: Gross and Fine Motor Skills, Cognitive Development: It’s All in the Senses, Get Ready to Read! Early Literacy at Home, Getting to Know You! Self & Families, Social-Emotional Skills: You Are My Guide, and Investigate! Program Management & Professionalism. Curricular activities and CDA alignment were supported by the Delaware Valley Association for the Education of Young Children (DVAEYC). The interns enjoyed the work, and found the badges challenging but rewarding. They enjoyed doing real world activities such as creating presentations and lesson plans based on what they learned, and liked the interactive component of conducting some of these lessons with their centers. LRNG helped the students codify and take ownership over their summer learning and knowledge acquisition. By the end of the summer, students learned how to include the digital badge on their resume as a way to talk about their new skills and knowledge.

Learn more about Philadelphia Academies Inc. and LRNG Philly.  

Badging Science Curriculum for Youth and Educators in the Promise Zone

Digital On-Ramps (DOR) is excited to be working with educators to develop digital badges for middle school youth as they learn to be urban scientists via a three year, $1.17 million National Science Foundation grant that Drexel University received this fall.

The grant will focus on developing science curriculum that involves activities for students to discover and explore the bio-diversity in the Promise Zone around Drexel University.  DOR will work with Drexel’s School of Education and the Pennsylvania Statewide Afterschool/Youth Development Network to create digital badges that reflect the skills and competencies taking place as part of the learning and discovery.  DOR will also be working with Drexel’s App Lab to develop a mobile app and website that youth and educators will use to track their findings.

Digital badges will also be developed for educators who participate in the professional development being created by the Philadelphia Education Fund.  Educators will be trained in the new science curriculum and will be issued badges as part of their own learning experience.

Read more about the grant opportunity on the  Drexel Now news site.   

Digital Badges for the Service Year

In July of 2016, Digital On-Ramps hosted a "Digital Badges for the Service Year" event in our offices at Drexel University.  Service groups from the Philadelphia National Service Task Force along with participants from Washington D.C., Baltimore, and Minnesota attended the event and offered their perspective on using digital badges for service opportunities.  

Read our blog post published on the LRNG website.  

Showing What You Know

In March of 2016, Digital On-Ramps received a two-year, $300,000 grant from the Barra Foundation Catalyst Fund to support our work with developing digital badges connected to 21st-century skills and work readiness for both youth and adults.  

Read the Barra Foundation's article, Showing What You Know, on our LRNG Philly digital badging pilot.