Podcast # 4 Merit Badges in the EPSS

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How many merit badges have you earned on your Knowledge Management system?

[Intro music]

Welcome to the Ed Tech Toolbox, I’m your host Kim Hogg, and today we’re in part four of our series on Knowledge Management in Education. Previously in this series we’ve looked at what Knowledge Management or “KM” is, we’ve talked about some tools that might be effective as an EPSS or KM system, and last time we talked about how to set up WordPress as an EPSS.

This week on the podcast we’re looking at gamification of your EPSS. We’re going to talk about what gamification is, why you might want to do it, and how badges can be implemented on a WordPress-based EPSS.

What is Gamification?

So what is this thing we call gamification? Lauren Trees (2013) at the American Productivity and Quality Center calls it,the use of game mechanics and psychology to drive certain behaviours within a target audience.” She goes on to say that the purpose of introducing a fun but competitive element to a task is to increase engagement. Some companies add real-life rewards to their game layer, while others use digital badges to mark progress or give out rewards to participants.

Librarian Sally Baker has looked into Gamification and Knowledge Management, and she identifies several ways in which achievements are tracked.  According to Baker (2013), achievements might be acknowledged through points or a scoring system, a progress bar, a leader board, badges or other achievement markers, levels, or even payment of virtual currency that has in-game but not real-world value.

Why use Gamification?

Now that we have an idea of what gamification is, and what kind of tools gamification uses, let’s talk about why you might want to use it for your EPSS.

CFO.com, which focuses on executive-level management issues, had an article last year discussing gamification in business called “The Games Businesses Play: Gamification. Sounds silly. Isn’t.” Author David Rosenbaum looks at the history of gamification in business and why it is used. He says,

KM initiatives historically have foundered because they’ve failed to answer the questions, “What’s in it for me? Why should I share what I know with others? If I give up my knowledge, it makes me less valuable to the company” (Rosenbaum, 2012).

He argues that gamification answers the reward question by delivering status and stronger reputation to participating employees. At the company Deloitte, employees use the Badgeville app to track their activities and earn merit badges. These activities, of course, are all things Deloitte wants their employees to do. This recognition resonates because it is public in the company, where employees can build a reputation based on their accomplishments, and beyond the people that might usually get to know about it.

Adding Badges to your WordPress-based EPSS

So if badges can motivate employees, staff or other group members to contribute and be involved, how do we go about adding a game layer to our EPSS? There are a lot of different platforms out there, but because we talked about setting up an EPSS on WordPress in our last episode, we’re going to talk about WordPress again here.

WordPress has a great number of plugins available, and for gamification, we recommend BadgeOS, and you can get more information about it over at BadgeOS.org, with links at our website. We recommend BadgeOS because it uses Credly and is compatible with Mozilla Open Badges. This makes displaying the badges on other websites or on say, a Mahara portfolio, that much easier.  BadgeOS comes as a free WordPress plugin, and it has a ton of different settings, so you can set up different or even multiple requirements for each badge. It’s a functional, flexible solution to badgify your WordPress EPSS.

Before we go, we want to invite you to join the conversation. Do you have any experience using BadgeOS? Do you have a comment or want to tell us about something we missed? Please join us on Twitter where you can find us @edtechtoolbox. You can use the hashtag #edtechkm to talk about this series. If you have an idea to talk about, want to join us on the podcast or send us some feedback, you can send us a note at techtoolsfored@gmail.com


Baker, S. (March 23, 2013). Gamification for Knowledge Management. Retrived from http://blog.sallybaker.net/archives/gamification-for-knowledge-management/

Rosenbaum, D. (February 14, 2012). The Games Businesses Play: Gamification. Sounds silly. Isn’t. Retreived from http://ww2.cfo.com/it-value/2012/02/the-games-businesses-play/

Trees, L. (February 12, 2013). Gamification in Knowledge Management. Retrieved from http://www.apqc.org/blog/gamification-knowledge-management


Intro and outro music for the Ed Tech Toolbox is a free loop from Apple’s Garageband software called “Stepping Out”.

Episode music is Drops of H2O by J. Lang, 2012, available under a creative commons license. Retrieved from http://ccmixter.org/files/djlang59/37792


One thought on “Podcast # 4 Merit Badges in the EPSS

  1. Pingback: Knowledge Management, the EPSS and Badges |

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