Do badges get in the way of learning to code?
Badges are the hot idea in open learning these days. The goal is to provide some kind of certification, different than a degree. MITx is providing an actual certificate. The critique of the Codecademy in the below piece is that interest in programming should be intrinsic, and learning should not be motivated by an extrinsic reward like a badge. At my most idealistic, I agree — intrinsic motivation clearly leads to the best learning. However, almost every student in higher education today is there for a future job, or for a degree, or for some other kind of extrinsic reward. I don’t see badges as being more or less extrinsic than a job or degree.
The pursuit of knowledge about programming shouldn’t be conflated with the pursuit of badges. That’s the beauty of this sort of DIY learning tool too — the people who want to learn to code want to learn to code and the reward should be that knowledge, not some virtual item.