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Recognition of learning

Tags: Mozilla backpack, open badges, open badges in higher education

Higher Education institutions commonly use grade-based evaluations where students get rewarded for the knowledge they gain, and tasks such as projects, behavior, skills, and taking tests. The rewards come in the form of a grade (number, letter) and certificates and can be physical or virtual. The rewards may be determined by peer, self, or teacher-based assessments. Rewards are a way to motivate students to learn. Today students can learn online to supplement traditional class learning and get rewarded for their efforts. Digital badges is an example of using virtual rewards. The Mozilla Open Badges (Open Badge Infrastructure or OBI) project is the virtual badge system which created a backpack web application for storing open (digital) badges received by learners from various sources.


Open Badges - Simply Speaking

Educational Implications

Open badges allow recognition of the formal and informal learning which provides the opportunity for everybody to create records of their achievements and make them visible to the world. Open badges act as a motivation and reward tool in many different disciplines. When the badges displayed in an ePortfolio, they become widely visible. A collection of badges in a ‘Skills Portfolio’ can demonstrate ‘key skills’ development.


Using Open Badges in Higher Education

Example of the use of Open Badges in Higher Education

Open Badges case study at the University of California, Davis, on Sustainable Agriculture & Food Systems (SA&FS) programme.


Research paper from Sheffield Hallam University on the potential for, and interest in, using Open Badges to supplement formal courses and qualifications at City University London.


Transforming Assessment webinar about Open Badges

What do students say about open badges?! "Open Badges"

More information about Open Badges can be found on the curated content collection on!.


Cost associated with earning badges

There are no costs associated with collecting badges within the Open Badge Infrastructure (OBI) or sharing them through the API (Application Programming Interface) and communication channels. In other words, the OBI is the infrastructure in the middle – issuers and displayers are free to innovate and design experiences on their own, independent of the infrastructure.



1. Open badges can motivate employees to learn.

Some people are incredibly motivated by badges. Once they’ve earned one, they want to earn another.

2. Open badges can credential in-house training.

Badges give corporates the opportunity to recognise the employees who have completed their in-house training, within an enterprise-wide framework.

3. Open badges are portable.

Badges' openness and centralisation in the cloud means that employees can continue to “wear” them when they move to your next employer.

4. Open badges are task oriented.

Open badges are task oriented. That means they recognise the execution of specific actions, and hence the mastery of skills.

5. Open badges can formally recognise informal learning.

Open badges are micro-assessments of specific tasks. If a learner execute a task according to the pre-defined criteria (whatever that may be), then he/she earns its badge.



When we seek to move the system of badges from its original context (British, American etc.) into a global phenomenon, badges may mean very different things across a range of different cultural contexts.

Open Badges can be offered by any organization. It is difficult to judge the degree of authority behind a Badge.

It has been argued that the motivation is not to learn but to accumulate badges.

Without any formal references to an accepted framework of competencies, a badge would not have any value added. As a result, the market could be flooded with worthless badges that could discredit the whole system.




06 May 2016, 4:14 AM
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