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Open Badges History


Since 2010, industry and education have worked in partnership to develop, grow, and invigorate the global Open Badges Ecosystem.


  • Open Badges 2.1 is released. OB 2.1, often referred to as the Badge Connect™ API, adds a REST-based API to Open Badges 2.0 and fully inherits the existing OB 2.0 data model.

  • Over 20 platforms have attained 1EdTech certification for adoption of the Open Badges standard.



  • Mozilla retires the Mozilla Backpack and enters agreement with Concentric Sky to migrate users and badges to the Badgr Backpack. 



  • Open Badges Specification 2.0 is finalized and publicly released. Open Badges 2.0 provides powerful new features such as endorsements, internationalization, and multi-lingual capabilities, versioning, improvements for accessibility, and full adoption of JSON-LD.

  • As of 2018, 24.1 million Open Badges issued to date, per 1EdTech. 



  • In January 2017, 1EdTech assumed responsibility to lead the evolution of the Open Badges specification and to ensure the sustainability of the future Open Badges ecosystem. 1EdTech committed to furthering the adoption, integration, and transferability of learners' digital credentials within and across institutions, non-traditional learning opportunities, and employment centers.



  • Millions of Open Badges were awarded to hundreds of thousands of recipients. The Mozilla Backpack alone hosts 967,966 badges on behalf of learners around the globe as of October 2016. The Open Badges community is actively working toward the release of Open Badges 2.0, the most significant upgrade to the specification since its release. This upgrade will make possible dozens of high-priority use cases that were identified by key stakeholders. 1EdTech, the world’s leading open standards consortium for education technology, in partnership with Mozilla Foundation and Collective Shift/LRNG, has agreed to become the organization responsible for managing the effort to advance the development, transferability and market adoption of the Open Badges specification and community effective January 1, 2017. This work will take place under a license granted by Mozilla. The work of the Badge Alliance Standard Working Group will be taken up by a new working group within IMS.

  • A new coalition of learning stakeholders is issuing the Bologna Open Recognition Declaration: a call for a universal open architecture for the recognition of lifelong and life-wide learning achievements.



  • 2014-2015 proved that the demand for verifiable, portable badges is strong. Corporations like IBM, Pearson, and Microsoft begin to adopt Open Badges, joining thousands of cross-sector organizations around the world. Supported by the Badge Alliance, more than 650 individuals—educators, technologists, researchers, community leaders, and strategists— participate in one or more Working Groups to increase support and collaboration across sectors, including higher education, digital and web literacies, educator professional development, workforce, and citywide badge systems.



  • The Summit to Reconnect Learning, organized by the Sprout Fund with funding from the MacArthur Foundation, was an event to focus on moving Open Badges from the edges of innovation to the mainstream. At the summit, a wave of business and education partners made public pledges committing to help accelerate the spread and scale of digital badges for learning. Here the Badge Alliance was formed to steward the Open Badges specification and community.

  • Fourteen Badge Alliance working groups kicked off to guide different aspects of the work, from developing the standard itself to advancing the acceptance of badges in the workforce, to the technical development of enhancements to the ecosystem, such as endorsement. In the 2014 cycle, these groups produced surveys, white papers, improvements to the specification, and extensive documentation around how badges function in a broadening ecosystem.

  • At Mozfest 2014, Mozilla and Digitalme launch the Badge the World map, a community project designed to map badge projects taking place around the world.



  • Mozilla launched Open Badges 1.0 at the 2013 Digital Media and Learning Conference, followed by a full launch of Mozilla Open Badges.

  • The first Chicago Summer of Learning provided a constellation of learning programs for youth offered by dozens of the city’s cultural and educational institutions and connected through the use of Open Badges.

  • Clinton Global Initiative: At the CGI in June 2013, U.S. President Bill Clinton announced a Commitment to Action to massively expand access to a new method of academic and technical skills assessment known as Open Badges—online representations of earned knowledge and skills—to improve the futures of 2 million students and U.S. workers. By the following year, this goal was exceeded, and a new commitment was made for 10 Million Better Futures.

  • The Open Badges ecosystem began to grow across Europe. Digitalme launched the Badge the UK campaign, which grew into a network of over 120 organizations issuing 25,000 badges over the next two years.



  • In October 2012, Mozilla released the Public Beta of the Open Badge Infrastructure, making the technical infrastructure supporting Open Badges publicly available for use.



  • The fourth Digital Media and Learning Competition (2011-2013) provided up to $2 million in grants for 30 innovative badge systems and two research projects as part of the Badges for Lifelong Learning Competition. This work was administered by HASTAC and supported by the MacArthur Foundation, with additional support from the Gates Foundation and in partnership with Mozilla.



  • The concept of Open Badges originated among those working at the Mozilla and MacArthur foundations, and out of the research of Erin Knight, founding director of the Open Badges project at Mozilla. During the 2010 Mozilla Festival (then titled the “Mozilla Drumbeat Festival”) in Barcelona, early Open Badges prototypes were initially developed under the banner “Learning, Freedom, and the Web.” The seminal white paper, “Open Badges for Lifelong Learning,” by Knight and collaborators at Peer2Peer University and the MacArthur Foundation, described the aims and potential of the Open Badges movement.