Want to Display Your Digital Badges? Here are Some Options.

Updated on 4/1/2017

In 2014 I created an article about the services that exist to issue open badges. There are many examples of how groups are issuing badges. There are, however, fewer interesting examples of how people are actually displaying their badges or using badges as part of their online identity. That is the purpose of this article. The only exception is that, instead of my collecting and reviewing the list of display services/options, I thought I would experiment with inviting the larger badge community to share their ideas. As such, the bottom of this article includes a simple form for you to suggest a service to be added. As services are submitted, I will add them to the list below (which starts with none). Let’s see if we can crowdsource a near-exhaustive list. Please note that many of the services mentioned in the badge issuing article also provide a means of displaying badges, but I will hold off on adding those, as it would be great to get a description of each service from people who either run the service or have used it a great deal and know it well.

Scroll down (below the form) to see verified submissions.

Name of the Badge Display Service / Option: Open Badge Factory

Name of the person submitting and connection with the service (founder, user, etc.): Don Presant

Website of the service (if relevant): http://openbadgefactory.com

Description (please consider any description that would help readers understand its role/function/benefits/limitations.): Open Badge Passport is a free, easy to use service, where you can receive and store your Open Badges safely and share them with whomever you like and wherever you like.

Your free Passport account is a secure place for you to:

• Accept and upload Open Badges from any service that supports the Mozilla Open Badge standard

• Store and manage your badges for future use

• Display your badges on Pages, or “micro-portfolios” with other files and multimedia content

• Share your badges on social media such as LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook

Name of the Badge Display Service / Option: Badgr

Name of the person submitting and connection with the service (founder, user, etc.): Nate Otto (director of this software project at Concentric Sky)

Website of the service (if relevant): https://badgr.io

Description (please consider any description that would help readers understand its role/function/benefits/limitations.): Badgr is a backpack service that allows users to create collections of earned Open Badges issued to any of their verified email addresses. Users may generate a share URL for a collection and use that to spread the word over email, social media, or in job applications. Badgr also provides HTML iFrame embed code for badge earners who wish to embed their collections directly onto their blog or website.

Name of Service: Bestr

Website of the Service (if still active): http://www.bestr.it

Description of Service (or any information about why it is no longer active…if you have that information): Bestr is the first Italian badging platform developed by CINECA, the leading consortium of Univerisities (73) and the Ministry of Education and Research.

It is a portal that connects learners to Employers and Learning providers based on Open Badges

Name of Service: Makeawaves

Website of the Service (if still active): https://www.makewav.es/

Description of Service (or any information about why it is no longer active…if you have that information):

Makewaves is the safe social learning platform for children to share what they make, challenge themselves with Missions and show their achievements with badges. Helping young people realise their full potential, by surfacing, capturing and communicating their growing skills. For Young People (Makers) Young people can take part in fun learning missions created by Teachers and high profile partners and earn rewards for their work. We make it safe to share blogs, videos and photos with friends, family and the Makewaves community. For Teachers (Publishers) Transform your curriculum with Makewaves badges. We give you the control you need to deliver and manage learning online. Track progress, give feedback and support students of all levels. Easily capture learning across formal and informal settings via web, mobile or tablets. Partners (we call you Mission Makers) Organisations can create Missions at a national scale and enable teachers to engage with your topic and issue awards on your behalf. For Parents/Carers Parents/carers can be assured their child is part of a secure moderated community. They can follow their child’s learning journey, provide encouragement and receive updates from the school to their mobile.

Name of Service: Open Badge Academy

Website of the Service (if still active): https://www.openbadgeacademy.com/

Description of Service (or any information about why it is no longer active…if you have that information):

Today, learning happens everywhere. Yet, we still struggle to capture valuable learning that takes place outside of formal settings. We need a new way to help people capture and communicate all of their talents and use them to transition into new opportunities. Open Badge Academy is a complete solution that makes recognising lifelong learning simple. Organisations create academies to launch open badges Use badges to recognise learning, validate skills and build capabilities Track and demonstrate the impact of your programme Learners use badges to build a richer picture of themselves Evidence badges on the move via mobile Share your profile to stand out from the crowd Professionals verify skills using endorsements Experts, educators and peers provide evidence based endorsements of badges Connect with the people who matter to you.

Name of Service: Accredible

Website of the Service (if still active): https://www.accredible.com/

Description of Service (or any information about why it is no longer active…if you have that information):

This platform allows the creation and management of Open Badges and Digital Certificates. Issuers can create, manage and deliver credentials to recipients via email and view detailed reports on recipient engagement, views, shares and website referrals.

Name of Service: CanCred Passport

Website of the Service (if still active): http://www.cancred.ca/

Description of Service (or any information about why it is no longer active…if you have that information):

CanCred Passport is a free, easy to use home in the cloud for Open Badge eCredentials that you earn for yourself. CanCred Passport is the default destination for badges issued by CanCred Factory, but will store and display all Open Badges that comply with the Mozilla standard. Passport is completely open in both directions: users can also export their badges to Mozilla Backpack and display them on social media such as LinkedIn. Another key feature of CanCred Passport is that users can publish their badges on an unlimited number of Pages, complete with additional text, files such as resumes and even embedded video. This means each Page can become its own goal-driven mini-ePortfolio, powered by the authentic evidence of Open Badges.

Name of Service: Open Badge Passport

Website of the Service (if still active): https://openbadgepassport.com/

Description of Service (or any information about why it is no longer active…if you have that information):

Open Badge Passport is a free, easy to use service, where you can receive and store your Open Badges safely and share them with whomever you like and wherever you like. Your free Passport account is a secure place for you to: • Accept and upload Open Badges from any service that supports the Mozilla Open Badge standard • Store and manage your badges for future use • Display your badges on Pages, or “micro-portfolios” with other files and multimedia content • Share your badges on social media such as LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook

What Gives a Badge Value? 7 Answers

What gives a badge value? As ideas about badges continue to turn into the implementation of badges in various organizations, there continues to be an important conversation about what gives a badge value. There are many ways to approach this conversation, but in most of the conversations, people gravitate toward one of seven answers to this question. Of course, these are not independent of one another. It is certainly possible (in most cases probable) that the answer is a mix of each of these, not to mention perspectives that I did not represent here. Nonetheless, I continue to find it valuable to look at these seven as starting points.

What Gives a Badge Value? The Credential

Some people look at badges as “micro” credentials. As such, they think of them as credentials in the same way that people think of diplomas as credentials. People focus on earning the diploma, displaying the diploma, telling others about the fact that you have the diploma, and using the fact that you have the diploma as evidence that you should be given some sort of favor or special consideration in society, a community, or for a job.

As such, badges don’t often fare well from this perspective because badges don’t have comparable value to degrees in most communities. Perhaps this will change in some contexts in the future, but that is far from certain.

What Gives a Badge Value? The Criteria

I spent quite a bit of time in this camp. The value of a badge is found in the criteria for earning the badge. If these criteria are rigorous or align well one an organization’s needs or values, there is a chance that the badge will have at least some interest, if not value, to that organization.

What Gives a Badge Value? The Artifact

I am a strong defender of this perspective. It works from the idea that badges are potentially just a temporary innovation. When you earn a badge for learning, that is often done as a result of providing some evidence of learning. That evidence is often an artifact, not unlike what we see in portfolios. In this case, the badge is not valuable in itself. It is the artifact attached to (even if not literally or technologically) the badge. This moves from symbols of learning or achievement to more direct evidence.

The challenge is that many people and organizations are not going to take the time to review the raw artifacts, especially if there are many artifacts or if they are reviewing a large pool of candidates. More often, they trust credentials or symbols rather than going to the source.

This will eventually chance. The world of big data and analytics will make it possible to represent direct artifacts, organization them, and communicate their value to people in incredible ways in the future. Most of us have not thought about this or imagined how it will work, but I am quite confident that this marriage of micro-credentials, artifacts, and big data will result in new ways to communicate qualifications, and this will change the value proposition of many current learning pathways as well as credentials.

Even now, artifacts have tremendous power in communicating the value that you have to offer to a person, organization or community. It is just that many are not skilled at learning how to represent those artifacts, and attaching them to badges is one short-term to mid-term way to address this problem.

What Gives a Badge Value? The Testimonial

This takes us far into the history of academic credentials. There was a time when Harvard didn’t automatically distribute diplomas to every graduate. You had to go to the President’s office if you wanted one, and he would personally sign it. It was more like a letter of reference, a testimonial to the fact that you are a graduate. Check out platforms like Credly and you will see testimonials as a feature in their badges. When you issue a badge, you can give a mini letter of reference, a personalized note of affirmation or recommendation. This adds a personalized value to the credential that we don’t see attached to many other credentials today.

What Gives a Badge Value? The Learning

The purist might point out that none of these give value to a badge. It is the learning that leads up to issuing the badge that gives it value. Independent of the badge, it is up to the learner to show what he or she has learned. The badge is just a milestone along a larger learning journey and that is where we find the true value. Yet, that has little to do with the badge itself.

What Gives a Badge Value? The Community

This is where we get to the good writing about ideas like trust networks. If a community values a badge, then it has value. This is true whether it is a community of 5 or 5 million. The badge need not transfer value from one community to another, but that is certainly an important consideration as we explore the affordances and limitations of a given badge or badge community.

What gives a badge value?

Ask this question and you are likely to get answers that emphasize one or more of these categories, realizing that there is much crossover and more complexity than represented here. If you are designing a badge system, consider which of these you might build into your design. If you are a learner considering the role of badges for yourself, this is a way to weigh your options. Or, if you are just interested in where badges will take us, this is also a helpful way to think about the potential future of credentials and displaying one’s work and evidence of one’s learning.

50 Ideas for Issuing Badges in Education

Maybe you’ve heard people talk about badges in education, but how do educators actually use them in a school setting? Prompted by a recent conversation about different possible uses for badges in K-12 schools, I started brainstorming a list based on badge ideas that I’ve seen along with some new possibilities. Here is the result. Following are 50 possibilities for issuing badges in education. This is certainly not an exhaustive list, so please add those that come to mind or others that you’ve seen (or used).

I didn’t attempt to put these badge ideas into any taxonomy, and there is ample overlap in the list. While I might build upon this rough draft list at some point, the main purpose now is just to get us thinking, to help educators (including myself) and others consider the many options for building a badge ecosystem that supports different goals and visions in schools. Having an item in the list is not an endorsement, but thinking through the potential role of each type of badge in your organization still has value. Even if you think one badge type is not a good fit for your context, thinking through such possibilities is a great way to clarify or confirm your school mission, vision, values, and goals.

Finally, I encourage you to consider how mixing and layering these different types of badges might have value. A memory badge might seem a bit simple, but imagine what happens when you mix it with a life application badge. Or, consider the potential of blending experience, membership and contribution badges to provide a broader picture of someone’s learning journey. These are some of the very items that Universities are looking for in top applicants, not to mention the fact that such combinations make for interesting people.

Enough with the introductory comments. Let’s get started. Happy thinking and badging!

  1. Contribution Badge – Issued to people who demonstrate a substantive contribution to a learning community.
  2. Competency-based Badge – Issued for demonstrating that you have reached a certain competency tied to a course or independent of a course (criterion-referenced).
  3. Standards-based Badge – Issued upon providing evidence that you have met a given standard for a program or professional organization.
  4. Recommendation Badge – Issued based upon nominations or recommendations of individuals who speak to your accomplishment or achievement.
  5. Experience Badge – Issued to recognize your active engagement and persistence with a meaningful / valued experience.
  6. Attendance Badge – Issued for proving or verifying attendance at an event deemed important for key stakeholders.
  7. Progress Badge – Issued to recognize relative progress in some area of learning. This is about recognizing improvement from where I started.
  8. Stand Out Badge – Issued to recognize commendable character, contribution or achievement in comparison to a peer group (norm-referenced).
  9. Impact Badge – Issued to recognize a tangible impact or benefit provided to an individual, group, community, or cause.
  10. Termination Badge – Automatically issued at the beginning of a learning experience with a set expiration date. The learner much earn a “permanent” or more persistent badge before the badge expires.
  11. Compliance Badge – Issued to recognize that the recipient completed mandatory training or other requirements (as in blood borne pathogen training).
  12. Access Badge – Issued to recognize that the learner meets minimum requirements necessary for access to something else.
  13. Belt Badge – Issued to recognize achievements aligned with reaching the next level (think of how belts are issued in martial arts).
  14. Translation Badge – This badge is issued to recognize an existing accomplishment or skill, but it is translated into a “language” that is better valued or understood by a new audience.
  15. Duplicate Credential Badge – This badge is issued to recognize obtaining some other credential, allowing one to share a verification of the other credential in a digital context (diploma badge displayed on LinkedIn).
  16. Collective Recognition Badge – Issued to a group of individuals or an organization to recognize some achievement or exemplary work.
  17. Award Badge – Issued as an award, prize or public recognition.
  18. Grit Badge – Issued to recognize persistence or tenacity toward some goal that may yet be achieved.
  19. Risk-Taking Badge – Issued to recognize commendable and noteworthy failed efforts.
  20. Disposable Badge – Issued for fun and playful purposes that may have no ongoing value beyond the fun of issuing and receiving it.
  21. Thank You Badge – Issued as a form of personal thanks and recognition for help.
  22. Competition Badge – A badge issued to recognize winners and other “high-ranking” people in some competitive endeavor.
  23. Performance Badge – A badge issued to recognize some public performance, presentation, etc.
  24. Creation / Builder Badge – Badge issued to recognize completion or contribution of a creative work.
  25. Goal Badge – A badge issued to recognize achievement of a personal learning goal.
  26. Apprenticeship Badge – This one is issued to recognize milestones and completion of an apprenticeship for a given period.
  27. Mastery Badge – Similar to a competency badge, this is issued upon demonstration of achieving progress toward or full mastery (potentially used in conjunction with an apprenticeship badge).
  28. Volunteer Badge – This is issued to recognize completion of volunteer service for a given project, achievement of an organization’s goals, or for a time period.
  29. Loyalty Badge – This badge is issued to recognize evidence of loyalty to a cause, organization or role.
  30. Transcript / Credit-based Badge – These badges are issued for academic achievements and used similar to courses listed on a school transcript. Sometimes they are used primarily within an organization to track student completion of requirements toward graduation or the next level. Other badges can build up to one of these badges.
  31. Peer Review Badge – These badges are issued by peers as part of their review of a project, paper or another artifact. As an example, they can be set up so that students must obtain three peer review badges (with attached testimonials) before submitting for teacher review.
  32. Reviewer Badge – This badge recognizes one’s qualifications to serve as a reviewer of certain work by co-learners in the community. One can create levels for this badge, progressively increasingly a person’s ability to review more complex work and projects.
  33. Retrospect Badges – This is a badge created and issued after the fact to document or recognize an accomplishment or something else that you want to give a visibility boost. It is also a way to recognize interest-driven, unplanned and unexpected, or serendipitous learning.
  34. Artifact Container Badge – This is a badge issued in recognition of some artifact or accomplishment, but the substance is actually in the artifact created by the learner. The badge is more just a way of organizing and sharing the work. Some of us argue that the artifact is and should usually be given more weight).
  35. Membership Badge – This is a badge issued to recognize membership in a club, team organization or other group.
  36. Curricular Building Block Badge – This is a badge used to design and organize the curriculum in a given school or program. It may be less about issuing the badge and more about using badge-size curricular elements (usually tied to objectives, competencies or requirements), used for managing curricular revisions, personalized pathways, and more. Badges can be clustered and stacked to achieve curricular needs as well.
  37. Problem Solver Badge – Issued for identify and solving substantial problems within the learning environment or even in the community (or beyond).
  38. Riddle / Puzzle Badge – A badge is issued when a puzzle or riddle is solved, opening up access to the next clue. Completion of the entire game results is a final badge.
  39. Challenge Badge – A series of challenges are created and learners receive badges as they complete different challenges.
  40. Life Application Badge – This badge is issued upon providing evidence that a concept in school was applied to solve a real world problem or challenge outside of school (some schools might, for example, require earning a certain number of these badges in a course).
  41. Memorization & Reception Badge – Not necessarily popular in some learning contexts today, this badge recognizes progress toward or evidence of memorizing valuable knowledge or information. For critics, consider mixing this with the life application badge.
  42. Experiment Badge – This badge is issued for creating and conducting an experiment, and reporting on the results.
  43. Uncaged Learning Badge – This is a badge issued by an issuer outside of the school that aligns with school requirements/goals or is recognized within the learning organization as part of an individual or group student learning plan. This often works as or in conjunction with a retrospect badge.
  44. Planning Badge – While planning is a discrete skill, this badge is used to surface the important strategic and planning efforts that go on behind the scenes of other projects or accomplishments.
  45. Reflective Practice Badge – This is a badge granted to recognize that a learner is demonstrating confidence and competence in using reflective practice to improve in one or more areas.
  46. Trait Badge – This is a badge issued to recognize someone for embodying or modeling a valued attribute or trait (leadership, curiosity, etc.).
  47. Cooperation & Collaboration Badge – Recognition of playing a valuable and substantive role to accomplish a team goal or task.
  48. Personal Learning Network / Online Identity Management Badge – This badge does not necessarily recognize new learning or accomplishments but instead focuses on building meaningful connections and a lifelong learning network that can be tapped to accomplish various learning goals.
  49. Title Badge – This is a badge issued to assign a title and recognize a role within the learning community (class president, field trip coordinator, or something new and creative). This can be used to document service and leadership for a given timeframe as well.
  50. Ticket Badge – This badge is issued as a ticket into some event or opportunity. It might be earned, randomly issued, provided based upon a variety of criteria.

6 Factors Impacting Micro-credential Adoption

Will we see an increase in micro-credential adoption? Micro-credentials and open badges continue to gain attention as experiments persist, expand and even move from pilot to full implementation. Yet, a broader adoption of these newer credentials requires progress on many fronts. I see six factors (among many others) as playing a significant role right now. While there are certainly other important factors, these represent common elements that impact the extent to which almost any new technologies reach widespread adoption.

Technology Maturity / Gestation

Badges as we know them have gained traction as a result of the initial and developing open badge infrastructure. Technologies for creating, issuing, displaying and tracking badges continue to develop as well. While there are several leading companies/organizations with regard to these and other developments, the ongoing maturation of these associated technologies prepare badges for more widespread adoption.

User Experience

Most people remain unclear about how to use these newer credentials. How do you build and issue them? If you receive one, what do you do with it? The user experience will need to be significant but simple to gain traction.


Credentials fit as part of a larger ecosystem. Credentials must be documented, issued, tracked, shared, displayed, and more. While early efforts with badges take much of this into account, we have an expansive and existing infrastructure for formal credentials like diplomas. For example, existing student information systems for traditional K-12 and higher education institutions and the associated systems for transcripts are a fundamental part of modern credentials. Current and future initiatives focused upon accommodating badges in those systems will expand their reach.

At the same time, some are concerned that such a development will reduce open badges from being a potentially disruptive innovation to a simple sustaining innovation. Badges have the potential power for democratizing credentials, but building systems where they reside within otherwise authoritarian technologies like student information systems might reduce their impact in other areas.

Some argue that the greatest potential for badges is empowering more people and groups with the ability to issue valued credentials. It is not yet clear whether efforts to integrate badges into existing systems will reduce the disruption or amplify it. Regardless, there is little question that such an effort will speed adoption, especially amid organizations committed to competency-based education.


Right now there is a federal financial aid program in the United States that is associated with some certificates as well as diploma from accredited schools (on the higher education level). Many regulations are placed on organizations that participate in the federal financial aid program. Persistent restraints through the Department of Education and federal regulations combined with various accrediting agencies (national, regional, and program/profession/discipline-specific) have the power to minimize the spread and impact of badges. At the same time, there is the possibility that these restrictions will speed the growth of micro-credentials and digital badges through people and organizations that function outside the reach of those regulatory agencies.

Impact on Organization’s Strategic Goals

To what extent can micro-credentials and digital badges find a valued role within existing formal learning organizations? To what extent do they risk diminishing an organization’s ability to reach strategic goals? Historically, formal learning organizations, even those deeply committed to student learning, have been tempted to lobby for that which protects the institution’s viability, growth, and influence. The extent to which these new credentials are seen as doing that will likely impact their adoption.

Allow me to give an example from a setting that is less known to many readers, the role of seminary education among various Christian denominations. Denominations ordain future ministers in a myriad of ways. It is possible to become an ordained minister in one denomination without earning a diploma of any sort. They must simply show that they are indeed ready, called and/or qualified. In other denominations, they have seen fit to require anything ranging from a formal associate’s degree to a three or four-year master of divinity degree.

Even when faced with a critical shortage of ministers in some denominations, there is modest to extreme resistance to exploring alternate routes to becoming a minister. When those routes are adopted, they are sometimes perceived as having a lesser or secondary status. In the end, it is about maintaining the viability of formal learning organizations than the overall well-being of the denomination. They would rather have fewer church workers and fewer people gaining spiritual care through local congregations than to compromise their existing system.

Yet, with micro-credentials and open badges, the traditional issuers of valued credentials are not the only organizations involved. There are new education companies, community organizations, companies hiring people based upon their credentials, and government agencies. Each of these continue to grapple with whether or how new forms of credentials will amplify their goals and interests. Their deliberation will impact the extent to which new forms of credentials reach widespread adoption.

This need not be adoption across organizations. As we see with early experiments, as long as a credential has adequate value within a organization or organizations in a given industry, newer credentials can gain traction and broader acceptance.

Symbolic Meaning

What does it mean to be a college graduate and earn a diploma? There is status associated with it. The college experience and credential each has cultural meaning. Even in instances where a college degree is not needed to achieve one’s personal goals, people are still often encouraged to finish college. College graduation has been equated with part of the American Dream, hence the focus upon getting more people through college to address access, opportunity and equity. Competence is not the cultural priority in many segments of society (although it most certainly is in others). Does it matter more that you are a competent teacher or that you are a credentialed one? What about for doctors, lawyers, nurses, network engineers, computer scientists, geologists, plumbers, electricians, general contractors, actors, authors, professional athletes, park rangers, and sales managers?

Many people are confused by such questions because the symbolic meaning is so strong, or they have failed to consider that competence and a traditional credential are separable. Reflecting on this small selection of professions shows that there are diverse answers related to competence versus credential questions. We might argue that these are not or need not be separate. Can’t you be competent and credentialed? Yes, but which credential will we require, or will we allow for multiple credentials as acceptable in a given profession?

The symbolic meaning associated with traditional credentials is strong. Yet, only 6-7% of of adults in the world have a college degree. This means that over 90% of the world may well be prime candidates for new credentials and that they may well be more open to alternate forms of credentials.

Technology adoption is determined by many inter-related factors. It is not as simple as walking through this list of six items, addressing them, and watching the adoption take place. This is why many of the most promising and potentially beneficial technologies do not gain widespread adoption.