Note: The information provided here refers to past Digital Media and Learning Competitions, and is provided for archival and reference purposes only. If you are seeking the current Digital Media and Learning Competition, please navigate to

STAGE ONE: Badge Content and Programs

Call for learning content, programs, and/or activities

The goal of Stage One is to identify compelling learning content, activities, or programs for which a badge or set of badges would be useful for recognizing and making visible learning that takes place in a particular area or topic. Badges may represent learning a set of skills, acquisition of competencies, achievements, interests, or affiliations. They can provide visible milestones on a learning pathway, support various types of community participation, signal achievement to a community of interest and outside stakeholders, support participation and further learning, and build identity and reputation.

This section is designed to help prospective applicants describe possible content, programs or activities, and to describe their relevancy for a badge or set of badges. Content proposals must pass through this stage in order to be eligible for potential use in Stage Two badge and tech design proposals.

Submission Details

Submissions will require a 1000 word written proposal. They can also include optional supplementary materials that help visualize the proposed learning content, programs, or activities. These are highly encouraged and can include a video, diagram, screenshots, napkin sketch, or other visual expression that helps depict the proposed learning content, programs, or activities. 

Proposals are submitted through the DML Competition submission web site: See Application Instructions
Multiple proposals are permitted from a single organization, but only one may be selected as a winner and move to Stage Two.

Submissions for Stage One are due no later than November 14, 2011 at 5pm PST.

Written Proposal

In your written proposal, please describe the following, including links to relevant material or resources where applicable. It’s not required that you answer ALL of these questions -- you may not know the answers yet and that's okay. The purpose of the questions is to help you fully express the content and opportunity, so that judges can understand the value of your proposal, as well as so that badge designers in Stage Two of the competition have the information they need to propose badge systems that are relevant and valuable for your content.

  • The learning content, programs, or activities that will be supported by badges. What are the primary domains of learning reflected by the content, programs, or activities? What are the overall goals for learning? Who is the main learning audience or target community? Does learning occur at a specific place or time (i.e., where and when)? How does learning typically occur? What programs and activities will a learner or group of learners experience?
  • The skills, competencies and achievements badges will validate. These may include traditional skills like writing or sports, programming in a particular language, operating a specific type of machinery, or 21st Century skills such as collaboration, communication, and teamwork. One of the benefits of badges over more traditional assessments is their ability to represent a wider range of accomplishments and evidence about an individual’s capacities, and provide a more complete and nuanced picture of their accomplishments and attributes. What are the main skills represented or developed within this content or learning experience? Are these skills and competencies better understood as discrete levels, or measurements of continuing performance?
  • Identity and roles. Do the proposed learning content, programs, or activities support specific identities or roles for the learner? For example, will they assume the role of a scientist, sound engineer, or writer, or build the identity of a collaborator, leader or creator?
  • Opportunities or Privileges. A badge or set of badges can be designed to provide opportunities or confer privileges to learners. What opportunities or privileges can arise from the content, programs, or activities? For example, advancing through a set of badges may provide access to mentorship or internships, available equipment, review of work by professionals, access to an elite community, or a new experience.
  • Existing assessments. What existing assessments or tools, if any, do you have for tracking or measuring performance? Do they align well with badges? How so?
  • Partners and Organizations. Does the proposed badge or set of badges require partners and/or other organizations? What are their roles in the learning content, programs, or activities, and potential roles in creating a badge or set of badges? Does your team, or a partner organization, include someone with expertise in assessment?
  • Administration of the badges. Who would administer the badges -- your organization or a partner? Where would the badges be deployed or displayed? Would they appear on your website or another website? How would this occur and what infrastructure will be required to support it?
  • Branding. Ultimately, a badge or set of badges for your community of interest will represent you beyond your institution. What elements of your brand are relevant to your badges? These may be general brand perception elements or specific visual elements like logos, colors, shapes, etc. Consider that you may begin with a single badge but that it may grow into a family of badges and ultimately a full ecosystem.

Important note for organizations with existing badges

If you already have a well articulated design for a badge or set of badges, and/or a supporting technological infrastructure for the learning content, program, or activities, you must still apply through Stage One and describe the core content and programs elements indicated above. Please also briefly describe your existing badge system in your Stage One submission, as well as your goals for the future iteration of your system. You can also include existing badge artifacts in the visual elements of your proposal. If your learning content, programs or activities are selected, you will formally submit the full badge system description, plans, and materials in Stage Two.