What are Digital Badges?


Badges are seen as a way to grant certification for formal and informal learning in the form of microcredits, which assess learned skills based on outcomes, rather than seat time. Often viewed as a component of gamification, digital badges are being implemented to help track, capture, and visualize learning in a way that incentivizes students. The concept behind badging embodies historical models of recognition for personal skills and achievement, such as when a Boy or Girl Scout earns a merit badge. Currently, digital badging systems are gaining traction in many online learning environments including Khan Academy, with promising results. One key development that has helped the progress of digital badges was the Open Badge Initiative (OBI) — an open specification for badging established by the Mozilla Foundation, which enables providers and users alike to display achievements on the web, on any platform. More institutions are looking to digital badges as an alternative method of validating formal and informal achievements, not just for students, but for teachers, too. While badges are not yet pervasive in education, they are being used by educators and organizations that are seeking comprehensive approaches to demonstrate a student’s learning path — methods that encompass far more than grades and traditional credits.


INSTRUCTIONS: Enter your responses to the questions below. This is most easily done by moving your cursor to the end of the last item and pressing RETURN to create a new bullet point. Please include URLs whenever you can (full URLs will automatically be turned into hyperlinks; please type them out rather than using the linking tools in the toolbar).

Please "sign" your contributions by marking with the code of 4 tildes (~) in a row so that we can follow up with you if we need additional information or leads to examples- this produces a signature when the page is updated, like this: - Larry Larry Feb 8, 2012

(1) How might this technology be relevant to the educational sector you know best?

  • - s.defreitas s.defreitas Jan 14, 2016Badging, gamification and games are becoming more well used. Evidence seems interesting but need for more research on badging... Certainly the research on serious games and gamification is very encouraging. Probably need to consider gamification in this trend report.
  • - kevinashfordrowe kevinashfordrowe Jan 20, 2016 I can see that 'badging' is beginning to emerge into the main stream of ways that we are able to recognise learning progression.

(2) What themes are missing from the above description that you think are important?

  • - s.defreitas s.defreitas Jan 14, 2016Gamification
  • - kevinashfordrowe kevinashfordrowe Jan 20, 2016 They are certainly actively being considered as a mechanism to 'micro credential' smaller learning outcomes in support of building a professional development profile. In this respect they have a strong syngery with ePortfolios
  • As an ex teacher (many years ago) I used, as many teachers do, games, and gamification and 'badge" strategies to motivate my students and it worked well. Will it work in the tertiary classroom/online with adult learners? I can see the potential of sophisticated games and gamification but struggling with the concept of "badges". Probably need to see more examples of what people are doing and how it is working (or not) for them. - geoff.romeo geoff.romeo Jan 24, 2016

(3) What do you see as the potential impact of this technology on teaching, learning, or creative inquiry?

  • Unsure at present, but will be interesting to see the early research around the topic and build upon the considerable research base of game science research
  • - kevinashfordrowe kevinashfordrowe Jan 20, 2016 I think that they have the potential to (possibly) profoundly change our understanding as to what a 'qualification' is and, at the same time, support an increased move to a more competency based approach to learning.
  • - s2.vaughan s2.vaughan Feb 13, 2016 I tend to agree.
  • - yvette.drager yvette.drager Feb 21, 2016 Agree as well. Could it also start micro-courses and skill sets being a more formalized way to build training. What will be interesting is how these are then articulated into the real-world for future employers to know and understand what these badges mean.

(4) Do you have or know of a project working in this area?


Please share information about related projects in our Horizon Project sharing form.