Benefits of open badges to corporations and workers
Over the past few years, ATD has published several articles about open badges (also called digital badges). These notes summarize the articles, which provide a high-level overview of the benefits of open badges to organizations and workers.
Borough, R. (2017) ‘Digital Badges Give Professionals a Visible, Portable Record of Their Accomplishments’, ATD’s Insights, December 7 [Blog]. Available at https://www.td.org/insights/digital-badges-give-professionals-a-visible-portable-record-of-their-accomplishments.
Leaser, D. (2016) ‘7 Reasons Talent Development and HR Leaders Should Adopt Open Badges’, ATD’s Insights, October 27 [Blog]. Available at https://www.td.org/insights/7-reasons-talent-development-and-hr-leaders-should-adopt-open-badges.
Moore, A. (2018) ‘Do You Have a Badge for That?’, TD magazine, February, pp. 23-25. Available for ATD members at https://www.td.org/magazines/td-magazine/do-you-have-a-badge-for-that.
Opperman, A. (2015) ‘Are Digital Badges a New Measurement of Mastery?’, ATD’s Insights, May 7 [Blog]. Available at https://www.td.org/insights/are-digital-badges-a-new-measurement-of-mastery.
Over the past few years, ATD has published several articles about open badges (also called digital badges). These notes summarize their articles, which provide a high-level overview of the benefits of open badges to organizations and workers.
What are open badges?
An open badge is a digital file that has information (metadata) in it. After a person achieves some stated learning objectives, they provide proof of that achievement to the person or group who is issuing the badge. The proof is evaluated, and then the badge is issued (that is, the person is given the digital file). The metadata in the digital file provides details about the learning and the proof; it always has this information:
- Badge name, what it signifies, and the specific criteria that the learner met in proving their new skill or achievement
- Entity that issued the badge, and their web address
- Name of the learner, and the date the badge was issued to them
Other metadata may be included, such as:
- An expiration date, if applicable
- More details about the entity that issued the badge, and/or their standards for the badge
- Link to the evidence the learner provided when applying for the badge
- Tags to make the badge easy to find in a search
The open badge happens to be an image file, which means they can be displayed on a website or stored in a virtual backpack.
Who started this?
The Mozilla Foundation partnered with over 300 organizations and received funding from the MacArthur Foundation to create the open badge standard. They launched the first version in 2012. In 2017, the standard was transitioned to IMS Global Learning Consortium, which will likely increase its adoption.
Why are they useful?
- Open badges can help companies create a single record of learning. Many companies have multiple learning management systems (LMSs), and also offer learning experiences (such as informal training sessions) that fall outside the LMS.
- Open badges are stackable, which means human resources can see evidence of a progression in a person’s work-related learning experiences without having to become familiar with the details of each experience.
- As organizations decentralize their learning (and other) systems, have globally distributed teams, and make use of a growing gig economy, open badges give workers portable and verifiable proof of learning.
Who uses them in their learning programs?
Here are just a few examples, linked to more information for each.
David Leaser shares more details about IBM’s use of open badges in this webinar: