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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 Open Badges standard follow the technical protocols that specify the requirements for badge image, metadata, badge issuing and storage. IMS Global stewards the maintenance and further developments of Open Badges standard.

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

Watch this video to better understand Open Badges essentials:


How to write a good badge description?


Badge description tells the badge viewer about specific learning and achievements that this badge represents. When providing details about the competence or achievement, you may include the following:
  • Context of the achievement. Where did specific learning happen? How was achievement unlocked?
  • Description of the achievement. What new knowledge, skills and/or change of attitudes/behaviours did happen as a result of learning? What kind of specific achievement was reached?
  • Tasks completed. What did the badge earner complete/demonstrate in order to qualify for this badge? What roles or activities did badge earners undertake? What evidence did badge earners submit to claim this achievement?
  • Assessment procedures. Which assessment procedures were in place to verify the badge achievement and evidence? Who was involved and how was the assessment carried out?

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

Tips to consider when describing badge achievement:
  • How will others, outside of your context, will comprehend achievement represented by a badge? Badges will be viewed by diverse audiences: badge earners, future employers, formal education staff, others.
  • What style of writing is common/acceptable for the context(s) where a badge will be used/viewed? Playful badge descriptions can motivate learners, but may be taken less seriously in more formal contexts. It is good to test samples with targeted audiences.
  • Who does verify the badge achievement and evidence? Badge description can be written from the first-person’s perspective, when the badge achievement and evidence is self-assessed by a badge earner. When badges are issued by staff, then the third-person’s perspective can be used to describe the earner's achievements.
  • How long is not too long? Badges will be displayed on the web, it is good to have badge description that tells just enough information to understand the achievement and its context.
  • Humans vs. machines. Badge metadata is machine-readable. This means that badge information may be discovered by search algorithms and filtered accordingly.


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.

Open Badges standard specifies the required and optional information to be included in the badge image metadata:
  • Required: 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 an optional but very much encouraged data to enrich and backup the claim for specific achievement. It can be of a variety of 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 support@badgecraft.eu to learn more.

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Badgecraft hosts this platform and develops it together with leading educational organisations. The European Union's programme Erasmus+ granted co-funding for building the first version of this platform. Contact support@badgecraft.eu.
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Co-funded by the Erasmus+ programme of the European Union
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