Pop Quiz — If you need to award badges to motivate students, have you (a) failed as an educator, (b) failed as an educator, or (c) failed as an educator?

Judith Ayers of the College Fix reports.

Trending: Professors Tout Badges Over Grades

In the video-gaming world, “leveling up” is the all-important increase in a player’s rank that psychologically keeps gamers doing better and wanting more – so some professors figure: Why not apply that concept to the classroom?

But instead of leveling-up, students can earn “badges” to show they’ve mastered an academic concept, icons they can not only earn over the course of a semester, but also post in social media outlets and even tally up and group together to indicate special skill sets on their resumes.

Badges are trending in the higher education arena, and whether they catch on remains to be seen, but a few professors piloting the concept claim it’s a positive paradigm shift.

They’re more specific than grades, the educators argue, adding the badges also create a carrot-stick approach to education that keeps kids engaged and interested.

“(Many sudents) were motivated by that badge, so they did the optional badges as well; not all, but some went to learn further,” Purdue University professor Bill Watson, who piloted the program this semester, told The College Fix.

“They add value to things that are hard to assess,” added Daniel Hickey, an associate professor at Purdue University who is trying them out, in an interview with The College Fix.

The educators said the badges alleviate many of the frustrations connected to higher education, and the pilot program launched this semester at Purdue shows promising results.

For example, Watson said, the badges offer a “comprehensive base look at assessment,” breaking down courses’ objectives and offering more flexibility.