Loon BADGES pilot selected by the European Commission

In cultural heritage contexts there is great potential for informal learning and lifelong learning. A lot of cultural and natural heritage sites nowadays are rightly playing the education card. But most of the educational activities are solely focused on youngsters and school children, and on gaining (historical) knowledge. Furthermore, learning is hardly ever ‘acknowledged’ and ‘validated’.

Therefore, a European consortium, coordinated by the Landkreis Kassel (DE), started the new Erasmus+ project BADGES, aiming at giving heritage learning the place it deserves in ‘lifelong learning’. In cooperation with various partners, the consortium unites heritage sites and public institutions, public relations agencies, and learning concept developers specialized in validation of non-formal and informal learning.

BADGES wants to install a standardized European validation and award system by issuing electronic badges on quality learning approaches and validation of non-formal learning in heritage contexts. Imagine a youngster or an adult visiting a participating museum, a nature park or an historic site, where they can watch, listen, act, participate and … learn. At the end of the visit or, back at home, he/she gets the opportunity to give proof of what he/she learned and is awarded with a … digital badge!

1000 YEARS COUNTY OF LOON, an historic exhibition ready for badging!

The Landcommanderij Alden Biesen in Belgium, a BADGES partner, was the scene for the first pilot project, testing the BADGES approach. To guide participants through the exhibition about the historic Flemish region ‘graafschap Loon’, an (optional) badging system was developed.
Next to a paper version, the BADGES project also provides an app for mobile devices, developed in cooperation with REVEAL (The European Research and Development Network for Competence Oriented Learning and Validation) and CNR (Consiglio Nazionale Delle Ricerche, Palermo, IT).

People who are interested are challenged with extra assignments and intrigued by information, visuals or sounds on different spots throughout the exhibition. With these incentives, visitors are inspired to think about and look at things in an alternative way. The results of every participant are saved online and an electronic Loon Badge is sent to every participating visitor.

Logically, this innovative and daring project is accompanied by various challenges. However, this doesn’t stop the partners of the BADGES project to chase their final goal: to help develop the learning potential in cultural heritage environments and to create a badging culture to award individual learning steps.

The Loon BADGES pilot was selected by the European Commission, DG EAC, Erasmus+ as a good practice example and features as a beautiful video clip.