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Get to know Open Badges

Open Badges is a global standard to recognise and verify skills, learning and achievements. They are digital micro-credentials that may represent identity, interests, competences and achievements across the web.

Mozilla Foundation introduced Open Badges Infrastructure in 2011 as a new shared technical standard to help recognise skills and achievements. Badges that are compliant with the Open Badges standard follow technical protocols that specify requirements for badge image, metadata, badge issuing and storage. IMS Global stewards the maintenance and further developments of the Open Badges standard.

The Cities of Learning platform is compliant with the Open Badges 2.0 standard.

Watch this video to better understand the essentials of Open Badges:

How to write a good badge description?

Badge description tells the badge viewer about the specific learning and achievement that this badge represents. When providing details about the competence or achievement, you may include the following:
  • Context of the achievement. Where and when did specific learning happen? What new knowledge, skills or change has happened as a result of learning? What kind of specific achievement was reached?
  • Tasks completed. What did the badge earner complete to qualify for this badge? What roles or activities did the badge earner undertake? What evidence did the badge earner submit to claim this achievement?
  • Assessment procedures. Which assessment procedures were in place to verify the badge evidence? Who was involved and how was the assessment carried out?
  • Unlocking new opportunities. What new opportunities does this badge lead to? Mention all the valuable things that this badge unlocks.
  • Links to a wider framework. Though this information can be included as a separate data field in the badge, it does not hurt to mention if this badge shows any skills that are part of a larger competence framework or education standard or connects with a specific level of education (see ans example of hoe to align badges with the DigiComp 2.1 framework). When you add this information it will be easier to assess prior learning in relation to the relevant EQF level.
  • Time spent to achieve the badge. This information is important because it gives information about how long has been ‘worked’ to achieve this badge. If a person worked 3 hours or 6 months to achieve the badge, that makes a difference.

Watch this video to learn how to define a good badge:

Tips to consider when describing badge achievement:
  • Badges will be viewed by diverse audiences: badge earners, future employers, formal education staff and so on. Is a certain style of writing acceptable for the context where the badge will be used or viewed?
  • Playful badge descriptions can motivate learners, but may be taken less seriously in more formal contexts. It is good to test badge samples with targeted audiences. The style also depends on who verifies the badge achievement and the evidence.
  • A badge description can be written in first person style if the badge achievement and evidence are self-approved by a badge earner. Where badges are issued by staff, the third person’s perspective can be used to describe the earner’s achievements.
  • Since badges will be displayed on the web, it is good to have a badge description that tells just enough information to understand the achievement and its context.
  • Badge metadata is machine-readable. This means that badge information may be discovered by search algorithms and filtered accordingly. Be aware of some keywords that potentially help find a badge easier.

Explore characteristics of Open Badges

Digital Open Badges is a new online standard to recognise learning and achievements. Compared to other traditional credentials, such as certificates, diplomas or degrees, Open Badges introduce new characteristics:

  • Flexible
Open Badges are used in a variety of learning and working contexts, both online and offline, to motivate, recognise and verify any type of achievements.
  • Granular
Open Badges are micro-credentials. They visualise learning paths, show progress, signify milestones, specify achievements. Badges can be organised in groups according to categories.
  • Evidence-based
Open Badges have the possibility to embed any type of evidence to verify learning and achievements claimed by the badge earner. Badge evidence enables ePortfolio solutions.
  • Verified
Open Badges may include self-assessment, peer review or issuer assessment options. Badge issuer decides on the type of assessment to verify badge achievement and evidence.
  • Sharable
Open Badges are easy to share anywhere on the web. Badge earners can share their achievements on social and professional networks, blogs, ePortfolios and add badge links to CV.
  • Transferable
Open Badges can be downloaded and imported to other platforms that use the same technical standard. Badge metadata is automatically loaded and displayed.

Understand Open Badge metadata

Open Badges embed vital information about learning and achievements by storing this metadata inside the badge image. If made public, this information can be accessed and viewed by anyone. Verified issuers and included evidence improve trust, transparency and credibility of badges.

The Open Badges standard specifies mandatory and optional information to be included in the badge image metadata:
  • Mandatory: badge name, description and criteria
  • Optional: evidence, standards, tags
Badge issuer ID, badge earner ID and badge issuing time is added at a badge issuing moment.
  • Badge earner is identified through an email address.
  • Badge names recall the content of a skill or achievement in a few words.
  • Description provides the details of achievement: describes the context, specifies the achievement, refers to completed tasks, explains the assessment procedures.
  • Criteria tells about the tasks set by badge issuer and completed by badge earner to qualify for earning specific badge.
  • Issuer may be an organisation, company, institution or private person that issue a badge to recognise learning and achievements.
  • Evidence is optional but very much encouraged data to enrich and backup the claim for specific achievement. It can be provided in different formats: text input, file upload, image, video, badge code or even another badge.
Open Badges can have other extensions, such as standard, endorsement, that Cities of Learning platform offers as on-demand features. Contact us at to learn more.

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Badgecraft alberga esta plataforma y la desarrolla junto con organizaciones líderes educativas. El consorcio Europeo desarrolla esta plataforma con la cofinanciación del programa Erasmus+ de la Unión Europea.
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