What is a digital badge?

Badges have been used as a tool for motivation and reward for a long time e.g. Guides, Scouts, swimming etc. More recently, digital badges are being seen as motivation tools for online games, or reward aids for online forums to encourage discussion.

Open or Digital badges are a digital implementation of these physical badges, and can be achieved by completing specific tasks and goals set by the issuer, for example a University.

The issuer will create a set of criteria they want the badge earner to complete before the badge is awarded.

The metadata within the digital badge contains details of who issued the badge, when and what tasks had to be completed to earn that badge.

The badges can be shared on blogs, online portfolios and CVs.


Metadata is information about information. It’s attached to all digital products such as digital photo’s, MP3 files and word documents. The metadata on files essentially tells us the who, what, where, why and how of a file such as the author, the size, date created etc.

Open digital badges capture essential information about learning and achievements by storing this metadata inside the badge image. If made public, this information can be accessed and viewed by anyone. Verified issuing organisation and attached evidence by badge earner improves credibility of badges.

How do you set up a badge?

The University of Derby has just run a pilot phase across a few select departments. If you are a member of staff and want a new badge to be created, you will have to fill out a Badge Request Form and liaise with CELT over the design of the badge. Once both have been competed you will be given an account on the Open Badge Factory website to allow you to issue your badges to your students.

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