As I have been working on re-inventing a professional development model for my district based on Dan Pink's concepts of Autonomy, Mastery, and Purpose, an interesting issue surrounding the tension between completion vs. mastery has arisen.
I created the sketch below to help think this issue through, using F.I.P. as an illustrative concept.
At the surface level (level 1), badges would be awarded for completion of the on-line modules themselves, indicating a basic acquired knowledge and the associated sunk cost of time with the activity.
Level Two badges could be earned non-sequentially. For example, if you really connected with FIP module 5, you could develop a representative portfolio of work that demonstrates professional practice in this area in order to earn the badge. You would not have to complete this level for FIP module 4 first.
Finally, a Level Three badge could only be earned through an award by an outside observer (say, an administrator, department chair, or fellow teacher who observes your practice). This level gets at the heart of mastery and implementation of the skill in practice. The behaviors inherent in the module, (ex. FIP 4) would have to be observed through demonstrated classroom behaviors/practices in order for the badge to be awarded.
A multi-level system such as this would allow for the acquisition of a wide variety of surface level skills, while at the same time allowing for deep integration pathways in areas of particular interest to educators.