Digital Badges

Digital Badges in Education

“Digital badges are tied to competencies, allows the viewer to verify the knowledge and skill of the person holding the badge. With this deep connection, badges become more than a visual symbol, they are explicit evidence of skills, competencies, and experience.” (p. 35)

About and Characteristics

  • These same highly social and interactive systems also presented us with a new culture of reputation, influencing how we build identities online that others find credible and meaningful.(p. 3)
  • Many of the badge systems being built include a suite of features that are common in reputation systems: voting, tagging, ranking, rating, “liking,” and commenting, to name a few. (p. 2)
  • Badges also reflect a desire to resolve a peculiar and novel problem in the digital age: To whom does reputation belong online? Only on the Internet can reputation be tethered to a proprietary system. (p. 4)
  • Khan Academy or massive open online courses (MOOCs) where people earn badges that can only be displayed within the technical system where they were awarded. The badges are thus only visible to those who are logged into the system, which limits the value and portability of the reputation to outside audiences. Open digital badges, however, contain standard technical specifications, and these open standards (not to be confused with academic standards) help foster a digital medium of exchange for credentials that previously did not exist, allowing learners to collect, keep, and share the reputation they have built across different platforms. (p. 4). Taylor and Francis. Kindle Edition.
  • Open digital badges present us with a design challenge to advance principles of credibility that we have yet to clearly define. These principles are being embraced (if not exactly defined) in different fields like design and software engineering, where employers put less stock in schooled learning and traditional credentials, and reputation and evidence alone can be keys to advancement. (p. 5)
  • Badges dovetail nicely with the elimination of seat-time requirements, for example, and the potential to design more flexible learning pathways or scaffolds has made digital badges particularly relevant to competency-based learning. (p.6)
  • The three main purposes of badge systems are to map progress and foster discovery, signal reputation beyond the community where it was earned, and incentivize learners to engage in pro-social behaviors (Gibson, Ostashewski, Flintoff, Grant, & Knight, 2013).
  • There is certainly motivation from the instructional technology community to experiment with badges and develop platforms.  Lin Y. Muilenburg; Zane L. Berge (2016-03-22). Digital Badges in Education: Trends, Issues, and Cases (p. 9).
  • This ecosystem consists of the expected stakeholders— the badge issuers, earners, and employers, who directly exchange badges for recognition, reputation, and evaluation— in concert with organizations and entities that add standards and endorsements to the badges to influence their valuation. The complexity does not stop there, as the interplay of these stakeholders, perceived value, and usage of the badges involves much more than the badges themselves; also involved are authentication, verification, and validation of the competencies and learning they represent.  Lin Y. Muilenburg; Zane L. Berge (2016-03-22). Digital Badges in Education: Trends, Issues, and Cases (p. 19).


Lin Y. Muilenburg; Zane L. Berge (2016-03-22). Digital Badges in Education: Trends, Issues, and Cases (p. 35). Taylor and Francis. Kindle Edition.