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Digital Badges[edit]

During this two session workshop, and accompanying discussion forum, we will explore digital badges from concept through to implementation. The workshop will focus on the possible pedagogies and technology required for implementing digital badges. We will also take a critical look at the current state of digital badges with discussion of the required and possible futures. If you have a few hours to read and discuss focused topics and participate in two mid-day webinars then please join this lively learning experience focused on digital badges.


This series of learning events will occur in both Synchronous and Asynchronous modes. The Asynchronous mode will be used to kick-off and continue discussion, where the two Synchronous events will allow focused discussion directed by the participants.


The asynchronous will provide both background readings and posed discussion questions. Participants will also be encouraged to point toward readings and pose their own questions. We will also be exploring a number of tasks for each day and these tasks will build concepts to deepen each participants understanding of badges.


One hour (lunch time PST) facilitated discussion will occur. Depending on audience and participation levels discussion will vary...

Note: these session outlines are being changed with input from participants. I have asked for input into this seminar series design and if you want to influence the learning journey feel free to ask specific questions about digital badges, I will adjust the session outlines to accomodate!

Session 1: Introduction to Digital Badges (DRAFT, subject to change and additions)[edit]

Making badges digital... its way more than a digital scout badge, particularly when you consider a mind on fire.


  • 01 - 03 December - kick-off asynch discussion at SCoPE
  • 04 December - lunch and learn
  • 04 - 07 December - engage follow-up discussion


Introduction to digital badges[edit]

The pedagogy of badges[edit]

  • fits traditional
  • fits with emerging
    • connectivism
    • MOOCs (just cause I have to have the word MOOC in the workshop)
    • Peer based
    • Self-directed
  • IMHO, shouldn't focus on these
    (Why, because they already have accreditation systems. And badges would gain greater acceptance if they focused on learning outside of current HE and tertiary education. Maybe a compliment to K12, focus on the bottom and middle of the pyramid. Empower people, give them a true alternative)

Discussing and defending the use of digital badges[edit]

  • co-curricular transcripts
  • branding, marketing and public relations
  • the chunkiness of badges
  • Self directed life-long learners
  • rise (or resurrection) of meta-cognitive approaches
  • curriculum mapping

Road to open[edit]

  • Ahhh... the anarchy badge
  • DML Competition(s)
  • Open Standards
    • a badge standard
    • LRMI
  • Currently Mozilla is focused internally
  • At some point in the future we need a metadata standard for the digital badge (and this is what makes the Mozilla Open Badges project so great!)

Session 2: Implementation has TWO SIDES (DRAFT, subject to change and additions)[edit]

There are two sides to implementing badges; the badges system design and the technical implementation. Each side is very broad and requires some background reading and thinking. The discussion within these two sides is very interesting as they dive into both the traditional approaches and the emerging pedagogies, approaches and technologies.


  • 08 - 10 December - kick-off asynch discussion
  • 11 December - lunch and learn
  • 11 - 15 December - engage follow-up discussion


Badge Systems Design[edit]

Current digital badge systems[edit]

Compare and contrast the following badge systems

The differences and similarities among all these badging systems tells an interesting story.

Technical Considerations[edit]

The digital badges infrastructure[edit]

The Issuer[edit]
Issuer software stack

The issuer creates the badge, figures out what skills and knowledge are represented by the badge, and figures out how to assess (or prove) if a person has the skills and knowledge to earn the badge. The issuer has a lot of heavy lifting to do, this is because determining if someone has mastered the skills and knowledge and are deserving of a badge requires work and should be rigorous if the badge is going to hold value.

The Displayer[edit]
Displayer software stack

The displayer provides the ability to display badges. This could be a social media site like facebook or it could be your own personal wordpress blog. The displayer will retrieve badges from an earners storage and display them for all to see. The groupings and permissions around the display of badges will be determined by the preferences of the earner.

The Earner[edit]
Earner software stack

The earner is anyone who wants to earn a badge. And they are willing to focus their energy and make an effort to acquire the skills and knowledge that demonstrates their mastery represented by the badge. Badges are everywhere, and are particularly present in our youth. Girl Scouts can earn badges, Students in sailing school can earn badges, Swimmers can earn badges. It is these badge systems where people prove skills, knowledge and ability and from this they earn badges.

First look at the Open Badges Infrastructure (OBI)[edit]

Mozilla Badges
Open Badges Infrastructure (OBI)
Open Badges widgets and issuers[edit]

A number of projects are forming around the issuing and display of open badges. This growing list of projects can be found at; A number of the projects could be of interest to educators.

the open badge meta-data[edit]
JSON message for issuing a badge[edit]

Mozilla Open Badge JSON message
The REQUIRED metadata fields are:

  • Badge Title
  • Description
  • Criteria
  • Image URL
  • Issuer
  • Issue Date
  • Recipient

The OPTIONAL metadata fields are:

  • Evidence URL
  • Expiration Date