Blockchain, Self-Sovereign Identity and Digital Credentials: Promise Versus Praxis in Education

Blochchain hostcollectionHigher Education InstitutionsIdentityMeta-Study
Author: Alex Grech, Ira Sood, Lluís Ariño
Year: 2021
Link: https://www.frontiersin.org

The authors examine the potential and status of blockchain technology from the perspective of self-sovereign learning. They describe and investigate projects on decentralized identity management as the basis of a learner-centered agency, on a national and European level, based on different types blockchains; the digital credentials as the “building blocks” of life-long learning, and its current lack of mobility and interoperability; and they describe a resistance to the adoption of decentralized open models, notably on the side of policy makers, higher education, and commercial entities.

Introducing Digital Credentials to Universities

Author: Dominguez Hills
Year: 2020
Link: https://evolllution.com

This interview with the Dean of the College of Extended and International Education, CSU Dominguez Hills, points out three things:

  1. Digital credentials don’t change the curriculum or structure of a program, but they improve the value of the award.
  2. Employers can find potential candidates quickly and efficiently through digital credentials.
  3. As learners and employers adapt to digital, institutions and their leaders need to adapt as well.

Shared Responsibility

Badge hostBadge walletcollectionEuropeLifelong learnersNational or regional government agenciesNon-formal learning providersProjectResearch StudySkill MappingValidationWebsiteYouth work organisationscompetency based learningDigital competenciesInformal learningnon- formal learningsoft skills
Author: Bloom Foundation and others
Year: 2018
Link: http://sharedresponsibility.eu/
Shared Responsibility was an Erasmus+ funded project in 4 European countries between 2016 and 2018. The project was based on the need to find a tailor-made solution on how to give recognition to all learning. The partners worked together with the regional stakeholders: adult and VET education, secondary schools, employers, organizations/stakeholders and trainers/social workers involved in the work with young people with fewer opportunities, refugees and migrants. Some of these solutions might have the potential for being transferred to other regions. Outcome of this project, which is based upon an in-depth desktop analyse and practical research, are 4 collection of badges to freely use. The 4 collections are based upon 4 of the 8 key competences; Digital competences, Social and civic competences, entrepreneurship and communication. The collections can be found in the library of Badge Craft. The research and handbook can be found on the website; www.sharedresponsibility.eu This project and its outcome can be useful for organizations working with informal and non-formal learning methods and want to start working with Open Badges.

SHARE the Badge

Badge hostBadge walletcollectionEuropeLifelong learnersMigrantsMobile WalletNon-formal learning providersPathwayProjectWebsitecompetency based learningDigital competenciesImplementationInformal learningMOOCs and online coursesnon- formal learningRecognitionsoft skills
Author: Bloom Foundation and others
Year: 2021
Link: http://sharebadges.eu/about/
SHARE the Badge is a follow up on the Strategic Partnership ‘Shared Responsibility’. Within Shared Responsibility a SHARE method and system (collections of Badges and handbook) have beenmade. In this follow up Erasmus+ project the partners want to make it accessible for different kind of organizations. Main priority is to support open education and recognition of competences gained in all kind of learning (formal, non formal and informal) using a digital way (open Badges) in order to have good (job) opportunities for all, also those without diplomas or certificates. This project focuses especially on organizations working with migrants and unemployed with a distance to the labour market. The project will give tools to these organizations in order to have a better insight in learning pathways within their organization, on how to connect badges with these learning pathways. This will make them capable of upskilling the learning of their target group. When you have recognition of your competences (through badges) you have better opportunities on the labour market. This makes vulnerable target groups more included in society. Outcomes of this project are expected in 2021 and include; translated SHARE collections in French and Finnish, besides the already existing collections in Dutch, German, Italian and Spanish; an offline print and play game about competences to use with the target group; an offline manual and online training course to step by step implement (SHARE) Open Badges in your organization; an easy to watch animation about Open Badges. This project and its outcome can be useful for organizations working with informal and non-formal learning methods and want to start working with Open Badges.

Getting started with digital badges

collectionPresentationbadge designImplementationRecognition
Author: Doug Belshaw
Year: 2021
Link: https://docs.google.com/presentation/...
This powerpoint presentation gives a wonderful overview on getting started with digital badges. It was part of a WIT workshop in February 2021 given by Dr. Doug Belshaw and practically guide you on the concept of digital badges and from slide 69 gives you an overview to other documents on general information on digital badges, quality and assessment, formal and distance education, professional development, business and others.


Author: -
Year: 2021
Link: https://credentify.eu/about

Credentify is an API service in the cloud that enables universities and students to issue and receive micro-credentials that can be stacked into ECTS. This Erasmus+ funded project is already integrated into an open education video platform and piloted by four European universities to create new educational experiences. It is based on blockchain technologies and offers tools for developers and researchers. Credentify is the first European free and open credentials service to use European blockchain conventions for educational content, which immensely improves transfer and transparency of credentials. The website gives information on the product and provides case studies.

Badu Open Badges – a new way to validate youth work

collectionProjectWebsiteYouth work organisationsnon- formal learningRecognition
Author: Badu
Year: 2021
Link: https://www.badge-badu.eu
BADU aims to professionalise youth workers and youth educators and validate their competences in supporting youth mobility and non-formal learning. This is achieved through the creation of Open Badges. This Erasmus+ funded project fosters the use of Open Badges for validating youth workers’ competences in the areas of youth mobility and non-formal learning. There is a practical guidebook on the use of the Badu Open Badge system and a good practice catalogue. Interesting for youth organisations that are interested in the use of Open Badges to validate competences or achievements. Youth workers and volunteers who work in the youth sector can use Open Badges to validate social competences, which are usually not certified by formal or higher education.

Mirva: Making Informal Recognition Visible and Actionable

collectionNon-formal learning providersProjectValidationInformal learningLifelong learningReskilling / Upskilling
Author: Mirva
Year: 2021
Link: https://mirva.openrecognition.org/
Mirva is an Erasmus+ project that aimed to make informal recognition visible and actionable and studied the the conditions of an Informal Recognition environment. Based upon this research they produced different outputs;
O1 Open Recognition Framework
O2 Guidelines for Communities & Individuals
O3 Guidelines for Organisations & Practitioners
O4 Guidelines for Technology Providers & Clients
O5 Guidelines for linking informal recognition with Frameworks
O6 Open Recognition Framework Validation
The work of Mirva is especially interesting if you want to get knowledge and practical guiding on open recognition and the use of open badges in the context of informal learning.

Gentle students

Case StudycollectionHigher Education InstitutionsMunicipalitiesPathwayProjectValidationWebsiteDigital competenciesInformal learningnon- formal learning
Author: Gentlestudent
Year: 2021
Link: https://gentlestudent.gent/about
This project in Gent, Belgium is a great example of a project for students of the Artevelde Hogeschool to be active in volunteering in the city of Gent. By doing this being rewarded with Open Badges. Gentle students is stimulating students to engage in learning opportunities using open badges standard. The volunteering projects and the learning objectives for the students are within 5 categories;
Digital literacy
Global citizenship
Research skills
The website is in Dutch, but here you find the project information and technical setup of the project in English.

Cities of learning

Badge hostBadge walletcollectionEuropeMobile WalletNon-formal learning providersPathwayProjectWebsiteYouth work organisationsInformal learningLearning pathwaysnon- formal learningRecognitionsoft skills
Author: Cities of Learning
Year: 2021
Link: https://www.citiesoflearning.eu/
The Erasmus+ Strategic Partnership ‘Connected Spaces of Learning in Europe’ was initially aiming to create a sustainable and youth-oriented participatory solution for European cities and regions to map, deliver and recognise diverse opportunities for young people. In order do build this solution, the following objectives had been identified to implement:
– Map and connect spaces of non-formal and informal learning, which enables young people to better “navigate” through learning opportunities, based on needs, interests and passions.
– Build online mapping software adapted to the needs of partners’ represented territories and easily scalable.
– Develop capacities of local learning providers and build online software for creating learning playlists – a youth-friendly way to present and deliver diverse learning content online and offline with integrated recognition through open badges.
– Build a toolkit and documentation for online software, which enables regions, cities or consortiums to create their maps and playlists of learning anywhere.
– Engage young people in identifying learning opportunities and shaping the understanding of learning according to their needs, interests and passions.
From this project the platform Cities of Learning has been created. On this platform you can create learning paths with playlists and digital Open Badges. Especially interesting if you want to badge learning in a city or region. On the website you find different cities and regions already active within cities of learning.

SURF edubadges

Badge hostCase StudycollectionFormal education providersProjectValidationWebsiteHigher EducationImplementationRecognition
Author: SURF
Year: 2018
Link: https://www.surf.nl
edubadges: issuing digital certificates to students edubadges is the digital certificates platform for the Dutch education community. edubadges enable you to award students or workers with evidence of knowledge and skills they have acquired. An edubadge is issued electronically within a secure and trusted SURF platform.
SURF, the collaborative organization for ICT in Dutch education and research, together with higher educational institutions, is examining the prerequisites necessary to award digital badges to students. Here you can download the publication on the lessons learned pilot edubadges.
Conclusions and next step: pilot project SURF has done a wonderful job in implementing Edubadges in higher education in the Netherlands. It is mostly used for recognizing competences in formal education, but outside the curricula.

Badge Wiki!

collectionCompaniesGlobalHigher Education InstitutionsNon-formal learning providersProjectWebsiteYouth work organisationsbadge designImplementation
Author: We Are Open Co-op
Year: 2019
Link: https://badge.wiki

This wiki provides extensive background information about open badges, with badge project examples, links to research, case studies and FAQs.  A useful starting point for anyone interested in implementing badges.

Do digital badges really provide value to businesses?

ArticlecollectionCompaniesEmployment-related learnersGlobalRecruitment / HRResearch StudyCompetence assessmentEmployer perceptionsEnhanced employabilityReskilling / UpskillingWorkplace training
Author: David Leaser
Year: 2019
Link: https://www.ibm.com/...
A short post by IBM reviewing their successful implementation of Digital Badges in training programs.  The post is looking at the value that Badges provided in learners’ engagement, skills development and sales competency, as well as other business areas, often less measured in research – such as clients confidence, social media presence and brand dominance.  The data in this post is one of the most encompassing in the commercial field to date.

IBM Digital Badge Program: Overview for external audiences

collectionCompaniesEmployment-related learnersGlobalPresentationAccreditationCompetence assessmentEnhanced employabilityParticipationportabilityReskilling / UpskillingWorkplace training
Author: David Leaser
Year: 2016
Link: https://www.slideshare.net/DavidLeaser/open-badges-at-ibm-overview-for-external-audiences
A presentation from IBM presenting their badge programme and some of the results achieved on their courses through awarding badges.  The presentation brings facts and figures from IBM’s experience, including a list of lessons learnt and tips for successful badge system implementation.

Digital Credentials: A Better Way To Capture And Communicate Learning

ArticlecollectionCompaniesEmployment-related learnersFormal education providersHigher Education Institutionsmicro-credentialsportabilityRecognitionstackability
Author: Tom Vander Ark
Year: 2020
Link: https://www.forbes.com/...
This article offers a rationale for how and why the education system needs to change to give learners better opportunities through credentialing and alternative learning paths. It not only talks about how badges can be used, but also other changes in the education system (better qualifications, better alignment, more skills based validation)

More Employers Are Awarding Credentials. Is A Parallel Higher Education System Emerging?

ArticlecollectionCompaniesFormal education providersGlobalHigher Education InstitutionsRecruitment / HRLearning pathwaysmicro-credentialsWorkplace training
Author: Sean Gallagher, Holly Zanville
Year: 2021
Link: https://www.edsurge.com/...


This article discusses the alternative learning pathways which are formed by the increasing number of digital badge programmes offered by companies as an alternative form of certification to traditional Higher Education.

FINAL REPORT – Badge Count 2020

Author: IMS Global Learning Consortium
Year: 2020
Link: http://content.imsglobal.org/badge-count-2020/badge-count-2020/

Link: http://content.imsglobal.org/badge-count-2020/badge-count-2020/

A summary from IMS Global of the status of Open Badges today – comparisons between 2018 and 2020 of the number of Open Badges available, issued, and of the number of companies reporting badge data.  The research gathered data from 25 of the 26  software platforms which support Open Badges.  These figures are useful to document the growing trend of digital badges.

Increasing the Visibility of Community Participation Opportunities through Open Badges

ArticlecollectionLifelong learnersNon-formal learning providersUKInformal learningIntrinsic motivationParticipation
Author: Kevin Field
Year: 2020
Link: https://www.socialinnovationacademy.eu/...

This article details experiences from a grassroots group in Northern England which implemented badges as an initiative to counteract loneliness and social isolation in the community.  In addition to tackling marginalisation, the aim behind this social innovation project was to improve digital literacy in the community. Whilst this project was not a success story, the author shares some insights as to where the initiative failed, and gives advice to others looking to implement badges in non-formal or informal learning situations.

6 Reasons Why Online Course Creators Should Use Digital Badges

ArticlecollectionCompaniesGlobalNon-formal learning providersbadge designImplementationMOOCs and online coursesParticipation
Author: Mike Weiss
Year: 2021
Link: https://www.clientengagementacademy.com/...

This article is aimed at educators providing online courses, and gives an easy to understand overview of the benefits of using digital badges for education providers offering online courses.  The article hails badges as “an incredibly powerful tool” for the online education industry and presents strong arguments for why digital badges are beneficial for issuers (and earners).

Expanding the boundaries of Education

collectionNon-formal learning providersNorthern AmericaProjectYouth work organisationsCollaborative learningInformal learningIntrinsic motivationParticipationRecognitionsoft skills
Year: 2019
Link: https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED594099.pdf

The Rennie Center for Education Research & Policy gathered information from partners on a two year pilot project focussing on expanding access to out-of-school learning opportunities for marginalised youth in Boston and Providence.  The programme gives youth opportunities to develop real life skills, and uses digital badges to document their informal learning achievements.  The report describes the projects and details the processes and takeaways from the project.

Employer Perceptions of Critical Information Literacy Skills and Digital Badges

collectionCompaniesFormal education providersHigher Education InstitutionsMeta-StudyRecruitment / HREmployer perceptionsEnhanced employabilitysoft skills
Author: Victoria Raish, Emily Rimland
Year: 2016
Link: https://crl.acrl.org/index.php/crl/article/download/16492/17938

This study examines which competencies are valued by employers when it comes to information literacy and whether any of these skills are difficult to represent through formal qualifications.  It investigates whether there is interest among employers in using digital badges as anaccreditation method for informal skills, and whether it varies between sectors.  The study is based in the USA and surveys 114 relevant employers in different disciplines to research their perceptions around the information competence new employees (directly from higher education) possess and about whether digital Badges could be considered as a way to document such skills.  The main finding from the research was that information literacy is valued in the workplace, but that these skills were often lacking in new employees.  Of the 114 employers who participated, only 5% answered that they were not interested in the recognition of digital badges to assess such competencies.

MICROBOL Desk research report

collectionEuropeFormal education providersHigher Education InstitutionsMeta-StudyNational or regional government agenciesPolicy Makers
Author: Elena Cirlan, Tia Loukkola
Year: 2020
Link: https://microcredentials.eu


Microbol – Micro-credentials linked to the Bologna Key Commitment is an Erasmus+ sponsored project that tries to give advice how to reform higher education, how this can comprise micro-credentials, also to support increasing access to continuous learning for all learners. This extensive research overview for the European Commission outlines the current state (2020) of usage of micro-credentials with a strong focus on higher education. It discusses, how different activities and instruments of European authorities and projects influence the adoption and recognition of micro-credentials. It also gives an overview of projects and activities that try to promote micro-credentials – both on a global and European level. With respect to our target group and goals, several question are raised, that affect the value and adoption of Digital Badges: – The ECTS provides guidelines for formal, non-formal and informal learning recognition. How do micro-credentials fit into those?

Making competences visible with digital badges

collectionCompaniesEmployment-related learnersFormal education providersGermanyHigher Education InstitutionsLifelong learnersNational or regional government agenciesRecruitment / HRResearch StudyAccreditationAlignmentCompetence assessmentEmployer perceptionsImplementationInformal learningRecognition
Author: Ilona Buchem, Dominic Orr, Christine Brunn
Year: 2019
Link: https://hochschulforumdigitalisierung.de/...
This working paper summarises results from five rounds of interviews with Employers, HR representatives, University Representatives, Open Badge Pioneers and European experts in the field of education and accreditation.  The paper presents a thorough analysis of the pains and gains of digital badges from different stakeholder perspectives, and suggests three scenarios – Minimum, Medium and Maximum – for the scaling of digital badges.  The paper rounds off with four Good Pracice Examples of badges used within Higher Educations contexts for both acknowledgement of formal and non- formal learning achievements.

Digital Credentialing. Implications for the recognition of learning across borders

collectionCompaniesEmployment-related learnersFormal education providersGlobalHigher Education InstitutionsLifelong learnersMigrantsMunicipalitiesNational or regional government agenciesNon-formal learning providersRecruitment / HRResearch StudyAccreditationAlignmentcompetency based learningFormative assessmentInformal learningLearning pathwaysmicro-credentialsMOOCs and online coursesnon- formal learningportabilityRecognitionsoft skillsstackability
Author: Borhene Chakroun, James Keevy
Year: 2018
Link: https://unesdoc.unesco.org/...

This report from UNESCO gives a concise introduction to the different forms of digital accreditation and the implications that digital credentialling can have for recognition.  The paper outlines stakeholders and explores the features of different technical architectures.  Implications for learning recognition and recommendations for digitalised accreditation in the future complete this paper, providing an overview of the current situation and the benefits and challenges which digital credentialing presents.

Digital Badges, do they live up to the hype?

collectionCompaniesEmployment-related learnersFormal education providersHigher Education InstitutionsMeta-StudyMultipleResearch StudyCollaborative learningInformal learningIntrinsic motivationLearning pathwaysnon- formal learningParticipationRecognitionWorkplace training
Author: Sherre Roy, Damien Clark
Year: 2018
Link: https://bera-journals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/bjet.12709
This paper reviews 23 badge studies documenting the contexts in which digital badges were used,  and their effects on learner engagement, motivation, empowerment and skills recognition.

The use of Open Badges in library and information science education in Estonia

Case StudycollectionEuropeFormal education providersHigher Education InstitutionsLMSResearch StudyCollaborative learningCompetence assessmentExtrinsic MotivationgamificationImplementationincenIncentivised learning (Extrinsic Motivation)Learning pathwayslearning performance
Author: Virkus Sirje
Year: 2019
Link: https://content.iospress.com/...

This excellent research paper reviews the history and use of Open Badges within Higher Education, it provides references to case studies from the early days of Open Badges to these days and their learning, regarding the advantages, disadvantages and challenges of use.  The paper then follows a pilot program at the University of Talinn, as part of a Master level course on Research Methods, focusing on Open Badges as part of the curriculum, and using them in parallel for assessment of soft and hard skills and knowledge in a Bachelor level course.  The paper presents variety of considerations and decisions taken within the process of implementing Open Badges, such as the technical platform, through the relation between formal learning and badges awarded,  the development of personal learning paths, levels and form of assessments – which became more holistic and inclusive due to the integration of Open Badges. The pilot resulted , on the learners side, in more engagement and enthusiasm, great appreciation of the personal learning paths and a general positive experience, especially to the soft skills being recognized, and to the competitive / gamification elements involved. On the teachers’ side, the difference between previous forms of assessment and this one meant more adjusting and more consideration in each step. Overall, the advantages and value proved more positive and interesting to pursue, going forward.

Open badges as credentials in open education systems: Case studies from Greece and Europe

Academic publicationArticlecollectionEuropeHigher Education InstitutionsLifelong learnersMeta-StudyNational or regional government agenciesCollaborative learningcommon taxonomygamificationInformal learningIntrinsic motivationnon- formal learningParticipationpeer assessmentsoft skills
Author: Sofia T Papadimitriou, Maria I Niari
Year: 2019
Link: http://oasis.col.org/...

This research paper examines the role and the contribution of Open Badges in open education systems, it reviews through case studies how Open Badges have been used so far and how could they be used to improve the quality of studies, especially in non-formal and informal education contexts. Key takeaways: There are various terms used for Open Badges under different educational contexts (table 1 – page 4) Through case studies, Open Badges prove to be a way for recording performance and progress, and to strengthen connections between community of users. Open Badges show promise improving engagement of studies  To bring improvement of quality, a common and homogenized term and system of criteria and procedures is required. The research paper calls for development of a prototype for a common, open system of digital credentials and offers a set of criteria for it.

Open Badges for Student Led Learning: The University of Edinburgh

ArticleCase StudycollectionFormal education providersHigher Education InstitutionsLMSStakeholdersTech StackTypeUKHigher EducationImplementation of Open BadgesSummative assessment
Author: Peter Evans
Year: 2017
Link: https://oerworldmap.org/...

This is a case study review and interview with Peter Evans from the University of Edinburgh, who successfully implemented Open Badges at the institution and is sharing his learning from the process. Read this to evaluate considerations for implementing Open Badges and get a sneak peak into Openness in Education in general.

Grading students programming and soft skills with Open Badges- a case study

collectionFormal education providersHigher Education InstitutionsLMSResearch StudyStakeholdersTech StackCollaborative learningCompetence assessmentFormative assessmentIncentivised learning (Extrinsic Motivation)Informal learningIntrinsic motivationsoft skills
Author: Bojan Tomić et. al.
Year: 2017
Link: https://bera-journals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/bjet.12564

This research paper follows 100 students taking an extra-curricular programming course, evaluated on both technical programming skills and soft skills such as communication, collaboration and problem solving, deemed as necessary for being a good programmer by professional peers evaluation.  Read this to gain insights on: How Open Badges could be used for grading both soft skills and hard skills What is the necessary course design foundations to enable successful implementation of Open Badge?

Belgium Case Study – Be Badges

Badge hostBadge walletCase StudycollectionCompaniesCountryEmployment-related learnersEuropeMigrantsMunicipalitiesNational or regional government agenciesProjectRecruitment / HRSkill MappingStakeholdersTech StackTypeValidationEnhanced employabilityJob learnersRecognition
Author: OECD
Year: 2017
Link: https://www.oecd.org/gov/innovative-government/Belgium-case-study-UAE-report-2018.pdf

A short report of case study conducted by Federal Job Recruitment agency Selor, working with Open Badges to evaluate hard and soft skills among diverse audiences, in effort to narrow gap to the labour market. As part of the project’s effort, a European sub-initiative aligning badges taxonomy has been launched.

Goal Setting and Open Digital Badges in Higher Education

Academic publicationArticleCase StudycollectionFormal education providersGlobalHigher Education InstitutionsLMSStakeholdersTech StackTypecommon taxonomyHigher EducationImplementation of Open BadgesIncentivised learning (Extrinsic Motivation)Intrinsic motivationskill taxonomy
Author: Zui Cheng, Sunnie Lee Watson, Timothy James Newby
Year: 2018
Link: https://link.springer.com/...

The article reviews literature on the impact of Open Digital Badges on learners in higher education. It explores educators’ expectations towards Badges, lists the benefits to educators and suggests ways of fortifying the effectiveness of learning with Badges through a practice of goal setting theory. The article points to the lack of common knowledge/skill taxonomy in Higher Education, and the difficulty it creates in establishing a productive badge-supported learning environment. It presents suggestions for development of Badge Categories, Pre , during and post-learning interaction with Open Badges to ease choice of learning paths, and use of Open Badges as disruptive technology. Read this article to: Understand the role of Open Badges in education Gather useful tips for implementation of layered Open Badges to increase motivation and achievements

Promising Practices of Open Credentials – Five Years of Progress

Badge hostCase StudycollectionCompaniesEmployment-related learnersFormal education providersGlobalHigher Education InstitutionsMeta-StudyMigrantsNational or regional government agenciesNon-formal learning providersNorthern AmericaSkill MappingStakeholdersTech StackTypeValidationYouth work organisationsCompetence assessmentCross sectoral networkHigher EducationLearning pathwaysPeer assessment / peer awarded badgesWorkplace trainingyouth work
Author: Sheryl L. Grant
Year: 2016
Link: https://drive.google.com/...

This highly recommended report presents case studies collected after five years of experimenting with Open Badges (true to 2016). It also includes a brief overview of free and open resources available through Mozilla’s Web literacy map badging program and Digital contributions on behalf of the Open Badge Network. Read this if you are interested in; Promising best practices through case study Considerations for badge program designs in different educational and labor market contexts Research on open credentialing systems to date of report (2016).

10 platforms for issuing Open Badges

ArticleBadge hostBadge walletcollectionCompaniesFormal education providersGlobalHigher Education InstitutionsMeta-StudyNon-formal learning providersProjectStakeholdersTech StackTypeYouth work organisationsbadge designBadge issuerImplementationImplementation of Open Badges
Author: Doug Belshaw
Year: 2019
Link: https://blog.weareopen.coop/...

Concise links list of Open Badges platforms, with correlating cross-references to review when making decision on platform to use.

The Missing Pieces – Micro Credentials for Building a Lifelong Learning Society

collectionPresentationLifelong learningmicro-credentials
Author: Don Presant
Year: 2021
Link: https://badgeurope.eu/...

This presentation focuses on the changing skills needs of the international labour market in view of current and developing education options. It outlines reasons for cultivating a culture of lifelong learning and specifies ways in which Open Badges could enable that transition. It presents case studies of successful micro credentials implementation at a number of education providers in the US, Australia and Africa, NGOs, large and small commercial companies. This presentation is valuable for: Understanding the big picture behind Open Badges – how it can play a role in shaping our readiness for tomorrow’s global economy Getting close look into Case Studies of implementation of Open Badges in educational institutions, NGOs and commercial companies

Digital badging – The need for assessment framework

ArticlecollectionCompaniesFormal education providersGlobalAlignmentCompetence assessmentDigital competenciesEmployer perceptionsmicro-credentialsnon- formal learningRecognition
Author: Paul Jagger
Year: 2020
Link: https://www.bcs.org/...

This article takes an example of digital / IT competence and examines the challenges involved in accurately reflecting the competencies needed for badge attainment and the issues in relating these skills to established assessment frameworks within the IT Industry.  This article highlights the issue of alignment which applies to badge attainment in all areas of vocational and “soft skills” assessment.

Recognising informal elearning with digital badging: evidence for a sustainable business model

collectionLifelong learnersNon-formal learning providersResearch StudyUKIntrinsic motivationMOOCs and online coursesnon- formal learning
Author: Patrina Law
Year: 2015
Link: https://www.openpraxis.org/...

An article examining the effects of awarding open digital badges for successful completion of open online courses – Badged Open Courses. The research argues that badged open courses, in addition to building students’ confidence and increasing motivation, can also generate revenue by either retaining or converting students to formal (paid) courses.

Recognizing competencies vs. completion vs. participation: Ideal roles for web-enabled digital badges

collectionFormal education providersHigher Education InstitutionsMultipleNon-formal learning providersResearch StudyYouth work organisationsbadge designCollaborative learningcompetency based learningInformal learningIntrinsic motivationnon- formal learningParticipation
Author: D. Hickey, G. Chartrand
Year: 2020
Link: https://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ1247119

This study examines the status of 30 funded badge systems in the years following the Design Principles Documentation project – whether the badge systems were suspended, existing or thriving. The authors coded the systems according to the forms of learning and assessment which they incorporated, and the authors discuss how the learning theories behind badge systems can affect their success and durability.

Digital badging – Is it worth it?

collectionCompaniesCountryEmployment-related learnersGlobalRecruitment / HRStakeholderscommon taxonomyCompetence assessmentReskilling / Upskillingskill taxonomyWorkplace training
Author: Paul D Jagger
Year: 2019
Link: https://www.bcs.org/content-hub/digital-badging-is-it-worth-it/

Link: https://www.bcs.org/content-hub/digital-badging-is-it-worth-it/

The article reviews vocational Open Badges implementation among employers and lists pros from their experiences with the Open Badges system. It points out the lack of common competence framework and open skills taxonomy as the key issues hindering development of Open Badges as driving qualifications force in the labor market.

The Role, Implementation and Impact of Digital Open Badges on a Civil Engineering Degree

Badge walletCase StudycollectionCompaniesEmployment-related learnersHigher Education InstitutionsIrelandbadge designEmployer perceptionsEnhanced employabilityImplementationIntrinsic motivationParticipation
Author: Wayne Gibbons
Year: 2020
Link: https://oro.open.ac.uk

Link: https://oro.open.ac.uk/69824/

This paper evaluates the success of using digital open badges to encourage student participation and to increase motivation on an undergraduate engineering study. Whilst the study takes place within a formal education environment, the use of badges focuses on non-academic elements of the course.  The findings from the case study indicate that badges may have a positive influence on student engagement and feedback from stakeholders suggest that digital open badges may enhance employability for graduates by highlighting personal qualities and strengths.

Scaling vs. control: Great learnings from the OpenBadges.nl workshop

The Netherlands is probably one of the most developed countries when it comes to digital credentials. Yesterday, around 30 people from different institutions, initiatives, companies and organisations came together in a workshop organized by OpenBadges Nederland. The topic at hand was an important factor for a digital credential ecosystem: how can we connect skills with credentials in a trusted way? How can we make the engine of skills, recognition and digital credentialing move forward?

As the Netherlands is a country that is highly decentralised, and where a lot of resources and decision making are allocated on a regional or municipality level, some discussions actually revolved around the ease of recognition on a small or local scale, alongside the desire to create bigger value and recognition through national or international alignment and connection.

On a small-scale, local level, skills recognition and badging are easier to roll out, as there are direct interaction and validation possibilities. You can actively develop a mutual language around needs and resources, and typically it is easier to moderate different interests and commitments (from the sides of educators, learners and employers).

The limitation of a small community is in the value of skills – skills representation through digital credentials remain a local currency, and the trust possible on a local level cannot be easily transferred to a broader context. Some interesting questions came up in the discussions:

  • The value of digital skill recognition is very much dependent on the demand side: the employers. Only when employers accept and recognize skills will the value for the skill-bearers / learners  be materialized.
    How can we convince and support employers to use skills-based hiring?
  • The value of digital skill recognition for the user requires transferability and mobility, along learning and career paths.  How can we get to a universal language / taxonomy that allows for an “exchange” of skills from one context to another, from one industry to another, from one region to another?


  • How can we ensure that skills are collected and recognized in an easy, controllable way with a self-sovereign user, and with a forward-focussed, not backward, perspective (“what can I do with them?”, instead of “what have I done?”)?

I think it becomes clear that all these questions are connected, interdependent. They mirror the big levers that can help matching in-demand skills with skill-bearers, and show ways to create balance on both sides.
We could only scratch the surface this time, but it became evident what has to happen for digital credentials to scale.

ICoBC Symposium 2021 – a treasure trove

The recent ICoBC symposium in November 2021 was a unique gathering of different expertise and perspectives. It helped our team in creating research connections that were not visible beforehand. The symposium included panel discussions and working groups on the perspectives of Corporations, Higher Education, Associations (lobbying organizations), as well as tackling the topics of Workforce Development, Digital Identity and 21st Century Skills, in the context of Digital Credentials. The debates within each of those working groups showed that even within each stakeholder in the Digital Credentials ecosystem, there are still gaps and differences to bridge. With that, the debates made it quite clear what needs to be done to get to a wider, institutionalized, productive use of digital credentials.

Some interesting topics that surfaced during the conference were:

(Higher) Education: The current business models that Higher Education institutions are based on are of cumulative, continuous study path, that sums up in a label – a formal degree. Digital credentials allow students to break down the label into granular skills and qualifications. Therefore, embracing digital credentials in higher education means embracing a different idea of learning, and coming up with a new business model that fits it, without compromising the brand trust that is strongly associated with Higher Education.

The new model requires significant investment of time and financial resources. This can only be achieved with multi-faceted Trust:

  • In learners’ demand: that students would pay for the smaller units
  • In employers’ demand – that employers would agree to acknowledge what the students achieved.
  • In public perception – recognizing micro-knowledge as the same quality as Degrees

Corporations:  Credentialing and skill-based development is cross-siloed by nature – it allows for mobility across departments, resource and skills efficiency. However, most corporations organisationally differentiate hiring (HR) and Workforce Development. When employees are trying to push forward Digital Credentials, it causes internal friction and push back, as it calls to look beyond existing structures and potentially change them.

Related to this, Workforce Development hardly uses Digital Credentials within corporations and other organizations. Credentialing is also not commonly used to evaluate salaries, staff teams etc. Discussions led to assume that this may be due to lack of understanding of skills – what skills exist in the company? What does the company need to be future proof? Workforce Developers are also lacking standardized qualification input, making it difficult to learn from one another – knowledge within companies equals a currency that is only valued locally, and cannot be compared or shared on a wider scale.

Associations:  Associations, a collection of organizations who are coming together to empower one another and lobby for common interest, are a rising engine for the promotion of Digital Credentials in Europe. Associations create value through recognition inside a closed network, amongst benevolent partners. When applying this value to developing competency and applicable skills, there is an inherent web of trust laid out to support it, amplifying the chances of successful implementation and reception.

Digital Identity:  This term refers to one’s own personal identity, as well as to the identity of Digital Credentials (their issuers, content and validity). One need that arises through the topic of Digital Identity in the context of Credentials, is that of reliability on both sides of the equation:  Everything a learner does is connectable and connected to their Digital Identity, it could be traced back to them – therefore learners would like to make sure that the identity provider (e.g. Google for gmail)  would always be accessible to them.

In the case of Open Badges and other digital credentials, if the platform / providers of the technology disappear – the learner’s achievements may disappear with them.

The learner also wishes to remain in control – define who can access their credentials, that they are not exposed to everyone.

This sets two prerequisites for the successful implementation of Open Badges – assurance of permanent accessibility, independent of providers, and personal means of controlling access to credentialing information.

21st Century Skills:  It’s easy to assert that we (as learners, employees, humans) need skills that fit our highly volatile, ever changing environment, so we can stay competitive and make use of technological development. However, as it turns out from discussion, there is no established mutual agreement on what that means, and different experts speak in different terms to portray required skills and competencies, making it difficult to create training and evaluation.

Digital credentials could be used to reflect exactly those skills that cannot be easily represented in other ways. One avenue forward could be the creation of a trusted centralizing body to define a small number of subskills, to start off with – going into detail of how they could be proved – and methodically expanding from there.

As you can read between the lines, one notion repeated in the different debates and working groups, and, with some distance, we realized that it is not a new one –  this notion is TRUST, more specifically DIGITAL TRUST. It is at the core of all digital marketplaces, a field that is increasingly better understood, through the experiences of giants as eBay or airbnb to your local neighborhood network.

So what if we think of Digital Credentials as a marketplace, and concentrate on how we can establish DIGITAL TRUST between the different stakeholders? Perhaps this is a key to successful , wide scale implementation of Digital Credentials across Europe.