About All Aboard, Ireland:

"All Aboard is a project funded by Ireland’s National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching & Learning, which aims to identify the wide range of skills and knowledge that students, and all those who work in higher education, will need to feel confident and creative when learning, working and exploring the digital world.

All Aboard is rising to the challenge identified in the national Digital Roadmap of building our ‘digital capacity,’ not just in terms of infrastructure, but also in terms of people, their skills, their levels of confidence and their ability to critique and challenge pre-conceptions.

All Aboard seeks to be a collaborative inquiry that will build on so many excellent examples of high quality research,  training and cooperative projects that have gone before us or which are currently underway."

For more information, please visit: http://allaboardhe.org/


Iain MacLaren, National University of Ireland Galway & the All Aboard project



We are exploring the use of digital badges for Irish higher education institutions by mapping badges onto an emerging National Digital Skills Framework which aims to boost the skills, knowledge, and confidence of all who work and study in Irish higher education.


The badges are being piloted in a range of different contexts including formal university modules and informal learning for personal and professional development. They are matched with staff competency frameworks, student co-curricular learning, and volunteering, etc.

Learning Recognized:

Learning recognized includes formal and informal, curricular and co-curricular, by linking to demonstrated achievement in the Digital Skills Framework, professional competency frameworks, and graduate attributes. After criteria are set, they are associated with defined rubrics; a range of different levels are planned including self-assessment basic skills demonstration to more formally recognized/accredited achievement.


A broad range is anticipated including reflective journals (already used in early pilots), peer-observation/review (in teaching skills pilot, for example).


A range of assessments are used including peer-observation reports, learning journals, quizzes, and practical tests.


This is still the early stages of the project, so we continue to learn. At this stage, issues include clarity of the meaning of 'badges' versus micro-credentials, tracking and analytics, mutliplicity of platforms, need for institutional policy frameworks covering standards, and levels of granularity of the associated learning.

Next Steps:

The project started effectively in February 2015 and runs until December 2016. There are a number of planned pilot studies in multiple institutions. Also, comparisons of different badging technologies will be conducted along with a plan to integrate with a national technology-enhanced learning week in March/April 2016 in which there will be a range of local 'festivals' of digital skills.