Skip to main content

Frequently Asked Questions

GENERAL OPEN BADGES

Open Badges are the world's leading format for digital badges. Open Badges are verifiable and shareable, and they contain detailed information about the achievement and what the recipient did to earn the badge.

Open Badges are a flexible and portable way to recognize learning and can sit alongside traditional qualifications and professional accreditation.

Open Badges include information on the organization or individual who issued the badge; the criteria that the badge has been assessed against, evidence, when the badge was issued, a verifiable reference to the recipient and a number of other required an optional properties. Some badges contain links to detailed evidence, expiration dates, searchable tags, and alignments to educational standards or frameworks.

The evidence that the earner submits to achieve the Open Badge can be included in the metadata inside the badge image. If added, it links back to the actual proof of mastery that the earner submitted and the issuer approved. 

Potentially, yes. Some LMS platforms natively support Open Badges, while other LMS platforms offer interoperability with specific badge platforms based on partnerships with the badge platforms. For the most current information, contact your LMS or badge system solutions team and ask for further details.

IMS Global Learning Consortium is a non-profit membership organization that develops and manages a variety of educational standards for data interoperability, including the Open Badges standard that was originally developed by the Mozilla Foundation. IMS maintains the standard through its members and input from the broader community, and also tests and certifies products for their conformance to these standards. 

IMS manages the Open Badges standard that was originally developed by the Mozilla Foundation. IMS tests and certifies technology products for their adherence to the Open Badges standard. View the current list of products IMS certified for Open Badges.

The impact of Open Badges goes well beyond a standard, as a new form of recognition for knowledge, skills, and abilities. The world of Open Badges includes software companies, educators, NGOs, training and learning organizations. There are many Open Badges solutions used at local, national, and global levels, and a global community of advocates for Open Badges.


FOR EARNERS

Typically, the Issuer will contact the Earner when a badge is awarded via email or other notification. Earners are often prompted to log into the issuing system and claim their badge. There, the earner may download the badge or share it with others. Sometimes badges are delivered as an attached image file that contains the metadata baked as code into the image file. An Earner then logs into the Issuer website and is guided through a flow to claim the badge and potentially send it to other systems such as their preferred backpack, wallet, or portfolio tool. 


FOR ISSUERS

Any individual or organization that has access to a system that supports Open Badges can issue badges. Any entity that can be described with a name, description, URL, image, and email address is a possible candidate to become an Issuer.

Any person, program, or organization can be an issuer of Open Badges. The important part is that the Issuer profile should represent the person or organization considered trustworthy by badge earners and those that view the badge's information.


FOR DEVELOPERS

An Open Badge is comprised of an image file with structured metadata (JSON or JSON-LD) embedded inside the image file. Images may be in in PNG or SVG format.

An Open Badge platform may provide any or all of the following features:

  • Issuer - Create, manage and distribute badges and enable earners to receive and share badges
  • Displayer - Render information about the earner's badge and allow a viewer to verify the badge
  • Host - Enable an earner to import Open Badges from other systems and potentially organize and share the badges with others

FOR CONSUMERS

Paper résumés and CVs are static and need to be continually updated, while badges are inherently dynamic, as they can be presented in ever-changing combinations, creating a constantly evolving picture of a person’s lifelong learning. Open Badges can represent a more detailed picture than a CV or résumé and are verified before being displayed.

Interested parties can trust that an Open Badge represents a legitimate, authenticated achievement, the nature of which is described within the badge itself, which is also linked to the issuing organization. Open Badges are verifiable so that a viewer can confirm the credential's issuer and expiration, if applicable. 

When consumers view an issued Open Badge, they may initiate a verification process that communicates with the server that hosts the original badge metadata. The server verifies that the badge is valid and communicates back to the consumer with confirmation details.

Open Badges may also be cryptographically signed and verified. For further details, refer to the Open Badges specification document.

The metadata in a badge provides information about the issuer of the badge, including a name, description, URL and contact email address


DATA & PRIVACY

Some PII that may be contained in the Open Badge metadata includes, but is not limited to:

  • Name
  • Email address
  • Telephone number
  • Evidence (student work such as reports, projects, test scores, or videos may contain private or personal information) 

In many cases, this information is not displayed publicly by badge platforms, and often, student work used as evidence is secured behind authorization logins. However, an Open Badge image file will contain some or all of this metadata, and the image file can always be opened and the metadata viewed. NOTE: Open Badges have been intentionally designed to be forward-shareable and the metadata inside the badge is intended to be publicly viewed by design.

It’s your responsibility to discuss compliance obligations (GDPR, FERPA, COPPA, HIPAA, etc.) with your legal counsel in connection with your use of Open Badges platforms and tools. You may want to ask qualified advisers about some of the following practices:

  • Make sure your Privacy and Directory Information policies provide notice of your disclosure practices associated with issuing Open Badges.
  • Don’t include actual grades or individual test scores in an Open Badge.
  • Don’t include sensitive information such as social security numbers, health, medical, or disability information in an Open Badge.
  • Only include the minimal amount of personally identifiable information (PII) for your earners. 

Glossary of Related Terms

assertion
A representation of an awarded badge used to provide information about a badge belonging to one recipient.
badge backpack
A term originally used to describe Open Badges services that provide badge importing, aggregation, and hosting features for recipients. These services match most closely with the role now referred to as the “Host” application. Other similar services are called wallets, passports, and portfolios.
Badge Connect™
An API for transmitting Open Badges. Released in Open Badges 2.1
BadgeClass
A specific data object defined by the Open Badges standard that contains information about the accomplishment. Many assertions may be issued corresponding to one BadgeClass.
baked badge
A badge image containing embedded Open Badges-specific metadata.
claim code
A string of characters a badge recipient enters into a form on the issuer's website to collect the relevant badge. Not all platforms utilize claim codes.
Competencies and Academic Standards Exchange (CASE)
An IMS standard for how systems exchange and manage information about learning standards and/or competencies in a consistent and digitally-referenceable way.
Comprehensive Learner Record (CLR)
An IMS standard for verifiable student-centered digital records of learning achievements. The flexible CLR data design supports formal and informal learning from K-20 and into employment in a web-ready linked-data document.
consumer
Someone who looks at an Open Badge and the information contained in the badge. Consumers may also initiate verification of the badge.
criteria
Detailed information about what must be done in order to be recognized with an assertion of a particular BadgeClass. Potential recipients may use criteria to understand what they must do; consumers may use criteria to understand what recipients did in order to earn the badge.
displayer
A system that shows an Open Badge and its metadata for others to see and offers the ability to verify that Open Badge.
earner/recipient
Someone who receives an Open Badge by meeting the criteria for earning the badge, often after submitting evidence of learning or acquiring a skills.
endorsement
Detailed information about third-party claims of support that can be associated with any Open Badges profile, badge class, or assertion.
host
The system where badge recipients can import, curate, and share earned Open Badges (sometimes referred to as backpacks, passports, wallets, or portfolios).
issuer
A person or organization who creates, manages, and awards Open Badges often on behalf of a program.
metadata
A set of data that provides information about other data
Open Badge
A specific type of digital badge that conforms to the Open Badges standard. Open Badges are verifiable contain detailed information about the achievement and what the recipient did to earn the badge.
open badge ecosystem
The broad array of multiple interoperable tools and platforms that support Open Badges.
Open Badges standard
The technical specification that defines how Open Badges are constructed and transmitted.
verification
A technical process defined in the Open Badges standard that enables consumers to determine an Open Badge's authenticity.