The purpose of this collective case study was to explore digital badging in educational institutions as support for K-12 practitioners struggling to integrate technology into pedagogical practices. The researcher conducted a mixed-method study that captured perceptions about digital badges and follow-up interviews with selected badge users to explore their viewpoints further. The goal was to generate a detailed case description, identify participants’ self-assessment of technological pedagogical content knowledge (TPACK), and define those attributes that are deemed important or not useful to Open Badge Course earners that participated in the study. Ten individuals from a Northern California region completed the survey and four participated in an interview process. Results from the survey found that participants highly valued the convenience, accessibility, and ability to self-pace afforded by the course. They valued being able to set their own learning goals and to begin and work at their own level of expertise. The game-like features and personal achievement were motivating factors to earn and complete badges. The course experience allowed time for cumulative study to learn and implement technology into teaching. The course experience supported their understanding of technological pedagogical content knowledge (TPACK). The interviews provided detailed information regarding perceptions and experience with the Open Badge Course. Six themes emerged from thematic analysis of the interview data: affordances of course content and course design, recommendations to sustain and improve the course, challenges of course content and course design, ways experience impacted/changed teaching, motivation for learning, and ways experience impacted/changed learning. Participant responses indicated that modifications were necessary for the course to be effective. The areas of challenge included: a lack of timely assessment of learning, constraints from rigor and management of badge levels, lack of relevant or meaningful badges related to the grade level taught, and difficulties with mechanical/operational procedures to access and complete required activities. Facing obstacles are not unique to digital badge project developers. The challenges identified in this collective case study provide valuable information for developers in redesigning future iterations of digital badge systems. Recommendations include how development of similar systems for informal professional learning within formal institutions of learning can be effective.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Dissertations (EdD) -- Learning technologies; Pedagogical content knowledge -- California, Northern; Educational technology -- California, Northern -- Evaluation; Teachers California, Northern -- Effect of technological innovations on

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graduate School of Education and Psychology



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

Davis, Kay D.;