Project Details


Open Badges

An open, online learning verification system.

By Mozilla

Project URL:
Project Twitter: @openbadges

Organisation URL:
Organisation Twitter: @mozilla

  • Education
  • Internet
  • Social Software

Apparently, by the time the average young person hits 21 years of age, they have spent as many hours playing video games as they have in their formal middle and high school education: that’s 10,000 hours.

Over the past decade, researchers have begun exploring in earnest the qualities of gaming that make it so engrossing, as well as how to apply that thinking to real-life situations and to learning. The intensely motivating and absorbing power of games is increasingly being harnessed by educationalists to find new ways to encourage learning. One of the most important motivational aspects of game play is the tiered reward system that a gamer can tap into – points, levels, badges. Researchers at Carnegie Mellon have found evidence that using badges of the kind earned in games to reward learning milestones in courses motivates students to press on with their studies, over and above their normal behaviour.

This is the idea at the heart of Open Badges, a system of digital badges that represent learnt and earned skills, created by the Mozilla open source community. Open Badges offers an alternative way to learn outside of formal education as well as the structure needed to verify skills and achievements through credible organisations.

Its ‘open’ nature also allows learners to combine multiple badges earned from unique organisations to build up a story of their own abilities. Badges earned on Open Badges can be displayed digitally, but are also easy to share with prospective employers, educational institutions, and others. And the badge is more than just a digital representation of a skill – it’s packed with data about the issuer of the badge, the criteria that it was awarded under, as well as evidence that helps to verify the credential. On top of that it is easy to share badges on any social networking site, and because it’s open source it can be continually developed and upgraded by those who use it and care about it, meaning it will evolve with the times, rather than be quickly supplanted by the next big idea.

And of course, it’s free, in line with Mozilla’s non-profit mission, and has the potential to lead the creation of new ways for learners to gain meaningful accreditation for the skills and experience they develop.

Last updated: 09th of May, 2014

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