Badges and Micro-Credentialing


A digital badge is a representation of an accomplishment, interest or affiliation that is visual, available online, and contains metadata including links that help explain the context, meaning, process and result of an activity (Gibson et al. 2015). Digital badges are used widely in reference to online reputation systems used in retail (e.g., eBay, Wikipedia and Amazon) and recognition via physical status icons, such as ribbons, medals and trophies for those that provide a good service or easy transaction (Gibson et al. 2015).

Badges and micro-credentialing in higher education has evolved as a novel means of recognising and credentialing skills or competencies, applied to hard and soft skills acquired in various learning settings (formal or informal, online or traditional classroom). In addition, they offer new ways of motivating learners and scaffolding the learning process, while also promoting values such as openness and learner’s agency, participatory learning practices and peer-learning communities. Badges can also be incorporated into a student’s e-portfolio, resume, websites and online profiles and shared through a variety of social networks.


Badges and micro-credentialing can be used to motivate learners and increase their engagement with online materials and activities that have been designed to help them achieve intended learning outcomes. Badges provide a way to recognise students for their engagement, knowledge and skills demonstrated outside the formal assessment process. Badging showcases skills and achievements to relevant stakeholders such as employers, institutions or connected social networks, and provides ways for learners to display their learning pathway.

In Practice


ITC320 Advanced Graphics for Games

Teaching Staff

Jason Traish


In ITC320 achievements were used to demonstrate acquisition of certain skills related to Advanced Graphics for Games and were based on completion of certain tasks or activities. Being rewarded is a powerful motivator and engagement tool for students. One of the best rewards is recognition for a job well done. Students can be rewarded throughout the subject to aid in motivation and create a map of what they can learn. This recognition can be in the form of certificates and open badges and can be a useful tool for providing details and examples of exactly what students achieved.

These rewards help students to communicate an identity and reputation of accomplishment in their fields of choice. These achievements can help open job and education opportunities, as well as unlock new privileges.


In ITC320 i2/Blackboard achievements were used. Students can see which badges and certificates they have earned and what is required to receive additional recognition. They can gain insight into learning progression toward defined competencies. Students can publish badges to the Mozilla Open Backpack and transport evidence of their learning outside of Blackboard Learn.



Learning design elements to consider:

Roles and responsibilities:


There are a number of tools to support your development of badges.

Further Reading

Howard, J. (2014, July 31). Badges for Recognising Learning. Retrieved December 15, 2018, from

Discover Open Badges

Open Badges 101

Badges for Learning Project

Gibson, D., Ostashewski, N., Flintoff, K., Grant, S., Knight, E. 2015. Digital badges in education. Education and Information Technologies 20, 403-410.

Jovanovic, J., Devedzic, V. 2015. Open Badges: Novel Means to Motivate, Scaffold and Recognize Learning. Technology, Knowledge and Learning 20, 115-122.