Peer 2 Peer University and The Mozilla Foundation coauthored an article in 2011. The article with the title “An Open Badge System Framework” introduced symbols to be used for interest, skill, quality or accomplishments. It said: badges “have been successfully used to set goals, motivate behaviors, represent achievements and communicate success in many contexts…. [B]adges can have a significant impact, and can be used to motivate learning, signify community and signal achievement” Later, in 2011 itself the Mozilla foundation developed open badges. Initially, these badges were used as a common system for websites and other non-profit organizations to deliver, collect and show credentials. The system was launched in 2012. Today, the batches are used for various educational, commercial and training purposes.

Digital badges are better than conventional credentialing as they bring more transparency and visibility. They are also easily verified. In the changing environment where everything is going fast and online, digital credentialing is the future of credentialing.

Digital credential:

A digital credential is an online form of physical credential. They can be in the form of licenses, passports, training completion certificates, diplomas, memberships etc. A digital credential should have all the necessary information that is present in physical credential: name, subject, issuing authority and dates.

Types of digital credentials:

Following types of credentials are being used at present:

Test-based digital credentials: A candidate earns test based credential when she appears for a test and passes it. The test is proctored. It can be online or can be conducted at a physical exam center.

Digital certificates: These are similar to test based credentials but do not necessarily need proctored exam. Often the candidate receives them when she attends a seminar or completes a course.

Digital badges: Digital badges are new form of online credentials. These badges can be displayed online and they can be gained from a number of online sources. They can be used for both high stake and low-stake tasks.

First two of the list are similar to their physical counterparts in their design but badges are uniquely designed.

The structure of a digital badge:

The authenticity of a digital badge can be gauged by analyzing its meta-data. Important information such as the badge owner’s name, details of the badge, expiry date, issuing authority etc. show both in the badge’s image and in its meta data.

Benefits of digital credentials:

Badges can be used for many different purposes and they bring following benefits:

Participation: Badges motivate people and encourage participation. They are different from traditional recognition and bring the fun element in the equation. IBM saw dramatic increase in the employee participation when it introduced digital badges for its training.

Collaboration: Badges encourage collaboration as they engage participants. Increased participation brings increased inputs and ideas.

Recognition: Badges can be used for recognizing community approvals.

Assessments: Badges are being increasingly used for peer-based assessments. These are especially helpful for people who get anxious while taking tests.