The information below is intended to be used as a guide to the five types of micro-credentials (represented by digital badges) that can be assessed in this scheme. It should clarify what each type is and give a definition of some of the key terminology that is used to determine each type.


“The only defense against the world is a thorough knowledge of it.” John Locke

This credential type allows students to demonstrate their knowledge of something. Teachers may use this badge when there is subject-domain-specific content or knowledge that a student needs to have in order to enhance their understanding of higher concepts in their learning.

There are many ways in which we define knowledge but for the purposes of this badge type, we can define it in two ways. The first is “what” knowledge, which involves knowing facts or concepts for a given topic or subject. Knowing facts or information about a topic can be considered low-level knowledge but can be important when laying the foundation for our learners. On the other hand, having knowledge of the concepts and theories of a given topic or subject can be considered high-level knowledge. These concepts and theories can be applied by students to perform a skill, to reason, to apply knowledge or to create.

The second type is “how” knowledge, in which one has procedural and metacognitive information about completing a task. Procedural knowledge is as it sounds: knowing the steps you need to take to complete an action. It can be classed as low-level knowledge. Metacognitive knowledge is a high-level knowledge. It involves the knowledge of strategies that could be used to complete a task, knowing that different tasks require different types of cognition (thought) and self-knowledge (what are my strengths/weaknesses as I face this task).


I know that when I throw a ball into the air, it comes back down to earth because gravity exists on Earth.


The theories derived by Newton about gravity (Newton’s Laws 1, 2 and 3).


To create chemical C, I need to add chemical A and chemical B together and heat over a low flame for 3 minutes.


One way to make chemical reaction C occur more quickly is to heat it on a high flame for 1 minute (strategy, applying knowledge of the role of convection energy in this chemical reaction).

I know that I measure roughly so I need to ensure I double check my chemicals before I combine them (self-knowledge)


“You can’t have luck when someone else has skills” Amy Tan

This credential type allows students to put what they know into action. Teachers may use this badge when there is a need for students to demonstrate a particular skill. Skills are often practised over time and may need to be demonstrated more than once to show they have been moved through the stages of learning (cognitive, associative and autonomous).


A teacher may choose to reward different stages of the acquisition of a skill or develop a credential that requires a student to demonstrate they have reached the autonomous stage. This could include needing to see the skill displayed over a period of time and (if appropriate) a range of contexts.

The stages of learning were coined by Fitts and Posner, 1967 and they outline the stages that an individual moves through in order to learn a new physical skill.

The first stage is cognitive in which the learner has to consciously think about what they are doing in order to achieve it. It may mean that the physical movements that are required to demonstrate the skill are laboured and require a great deal of concentration on the individuals part.

The second stage is associative in which the individual begins to find some fluidity or consistency in their performance. Some parts of the skill will begin to come naturally and without conscious effort while other areas will still require mental control and focus.

The final stage is the autonomous stage, where the individual can consistently and accurately demonstrate the skill with little conscious thought. You could compare this to “working on auto-pilot”.


“I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use.” Galileo Galilei

This badge type allows students to demonstrate their capacity to select and apply a specific reasoning pattern to solve a problem. 

Reasoning patterns can be specific to a particular task or discipline, but more commonly they are generic, and applied repeatedly across a number of contexts.

Given its importance to all human endeavour, specific attention to reasoning is sometimes conspicuously absent from the secondary school curriculum narrative. 

The students’ ability to apply a precise and well-defined reasoning pattern to the knowledge they acquire and the skills they are developing is absolutely a primary goal of their education.

This project aims to assist us to develop a common language for forms of reasoning that can be applied across disciplines, so that the function of reasoning itself is elevated in the students learning life to one of significant importance. 

In Piaget’s theory of human development, we are working with students who are largely moving from the Concrete Operational stage to the Formal Operational stage. 

Piaget: The formal operational stage

(adolescence and into adulthood, roughly ages 11 to approximately 15–20):

Intelligence is demonstrated through the logical use of symbols related to abstract concepts. This form of thought includes “assumptions that have no necessary relation to reality.” At this point, the person is capable of hypothetical and deductive reasoning. During this time, people develop the ability to think about abstract concepts.

Piaget stated that “hypothetico-deductive reasoning” becomes important during the formal operational stage. This type of thinking involves hypothetical “what-if” situations that are not always rooted in reality, i.e. counterfactual thinking. It is often required in science and mathematics.

  • Abstract thought emerges during the formal operational stage. Children tend to think very concretely and specifically in earlier stages, and begin to consider possible outcomes and consequences of actions.
  • Metacognition, the capacity for “thinking about thinking” that allows adolescents and adults to reason about their thought processes and monitor them.
  • Problem-solving is demonstrated when children use trial-and-error to solve problems. The ability to systematically solve a problem in a logical and methodical way emerges.

While children in primary school years mostly used inductive reasoning, drawing general conclusions from personal experiences and specific facts, adolescents become capable of deductive reasoning, in which they draw specific conclusions from abstract concepts using logic. This capability results from their capacity to think hypothetically.

From Wikipedia: 10 February 2019


“I must be lean & write & make worlds beside this to live in.” Sylvia Plath

This credential type allows students to put all their learning into action, often in complex contexts and in order to generate some form of effect on the world.

While it can happen at any stage in a students’ learning, the authenticity of the ‘enact’ phase must be ensured. 


Outline of ‘act’ and its foundation in educational theory

specific concrete expansions and examples


“Love’ is the name for our pursuit of wholeness, for our desire to be complete.” Plato

This credential type allows students to concentrate on, and develop, their values, qualities and attitudes and to be acknowledged for these as part of their core learning experience.

Sometimes a poor cousin to other aspects of students’ experience at school, the ‘disposition’ of the learner is nonetheless considered to be fundamental to their success in school and life. 


I will work with the SOAR team to build a set of descriptors here that are derived from their clear articulation of the school’s SOAR values.

This panel will contain some exemplars of SOAR in action.

Get the latest posts delivered to your mailbox: