Open badges

Open badges

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Open Badges are visual indicators that the recipient has achieved a certain level of knowledge or demonstrated competence in a particular skill[1]. Each badge is composed of an image with additional information invisibly inserted into it, typically the name of the badge, requirements to earn it, links to evidence, the earner’s name and email address, and the name of the issuer. Online systems such as Credly,, and a growing number of educational tools support the creation, issue and display of badges.

See Also: Badges, Tin can API


Mozilla's Open Badges project

Open Badges were devised by the Mozilla Foundation. This project is working towards making skills and achievements gained outside the formal educational structure recognizable. It is making it easy for anyone to issue, earn and display badges across the web through a shared technical infrastructure. As a result, it is helping people of all ages gain and display 21st century skills and unlock new career and educational opportunities.

Badge earners can add their badges to their ‘Mozilla backpack‘. A backpack is a virtual space for organizing the badges into collections and sharing them with others. Interested parties can easily access the information embedded within a particular badge and verify that it is genuine and awarded to the stated person. This verification process means that an Open Badge can offer more credibility than, for example, a paper certificate because it can easily be checked for authenticity.

Positive and Negitive of Open Badges

Open badges are seen to have both advantages and disadvantages. These are:[2]

On the plus side On the minus side
Open Badges makes it possible to gain recognition for learning outside the formal accredited assessment that is typical of school/college/university. Open Badges can be offered by any organization. It is difficult to judge the degree of authority behind a Badge.
Open Badges can be very granular, making it possible to reward learners for small achievements. This type of award is common in gamification and is viewed by many as a powerful motivational force. It has been argued (for example by Mitchel Resnick) that the motivation is not to learn but to accumulate badges.
Open Badges is an open, free, technical standard so is not proprietary. Implementing Open Badges based on the technical API is quite a barrier as it requires significant technical skills. This may begin to be overcome as common software supports Open Badges – for example Moodle provides Open Badge support from version 2.5 (May 2013).
Open Badges can be displayed to show all the skills that a person has earned – in a CV, Resume, Portfolio, etc. For many years accredited qualifications have led the way in providing instantly recognisable and trusted “certificates”. How long will it take to change the currency of qualifications?

Digital Badge Vs Open badge

A digital badge is an online representation of a skill you’ve earned[3]. Open Badges take that concept one step further, and allows you to verify your skills, interests and achievements through credible organizations and attaches that information to the badge image file, hard-coding the metadata for future access and review. Because the system is based on an open standard, earners can combine multiple badges from different issuers to tell the complete story of their achievements — both online and off. Badges can be displayed wherever earners want them on the web, and share them for employment, education or lifelong learning.

Open Badges are:

• Free and open: Mozilla Open Badges is not proprietary. It’s free software and an open technical standard any organization can use to create, issue and verify digital badges.

• Transferable: Collect badges from multiple sources, online and off, into a single backpack. Then display your skills and achievements on social networking profiles, job sites, websites and more.

• Stackable: Whether they’re issued by one organization or many, badges can build upon each other and be stacked to tell the full story of your skills and achievements.

• Evidence-based: Open Badges are information-rich. Each badge has important metadata which is hard-coded into the badge image file itself that links back to the issuer, criteria and verifying evidence.

Open Badges make it easy to:

• Get recognition for the things you learn;

• Give recognition for the things you teach;

• Verify skills; and

• Display your verified badges across the web.

Link icon.png Web Resources
Link Content
Six ways to look at badging systems designed for learning Initiated by Barry Joseph, Global Kids, Inc. Written by Barry with scores of others.
So what are open badges By Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC) Regional Support Centres.
Mozilla open badges - Case study This study by Erin Knight and Carla Casilli explores the use of digital badges—online representations and records of achievements and skills—for learning contexts.
Open Badges Moodle Docs Page.
Mozilla open badges Wikipedia Article.
Mozilla launches open badges project Mozilla Blog


  1. London School of Economics-Open Badges
  2. Intrallect-Open Badges: Has the jury come back yet
  3. Mozilla Wiki:Badges