Digital & skills recognition: what are open badges?

  • Post published:25 April 2022
  • Post category:Blog EN

Today we can learn anywhere, not just in a classroom. But it is often difficult to get recognition for skills and achievements that occur outside the school system. It is even more difficult to recognize behavioral competencies, where you can’t really “assess” typical behaviors. Innovating in terms of competencies and recognition is essential to take the digital shift that is in full swing. That’s why today we wanted to tackle a new topic: open badges.

An Open Badge is the digital embodiment of an experience, a skill or a knowledge. Open Badges can be used to confirm the acquisition of skills, knowledge or competencies that are not recognized by a formal degree or certification. It is visualized as a digital image. If you choose to print this image on paper, it must include a QR code that, when scanned, will send the user to the digital information contained in the badge.

The open badge thus represents a declaration and digital validation of a person’s skills and knowledge. You can receive an open badge after any type of learning experience: an online conference, or a more traditional training session in a “physical” space.

Where do open badges come from?

The open badge was launched to the general public in 2011 by the Mozilla Foundation, as an innovative tool for digital validation of skills. In France, it really started to emerge around 2015, with the strong commitment of the DRAAF of Normandy (which is also one of the founding members of the Reconnaître association, founded in 2018 to “build a society of recognition”).

Mozilla has focused in its work on implementing approaches to value “informal” skills. Open badges emerged in the early 2010s. Mozilla’s open badges project allows anyone to easily issue, earn and display badges on the Web thanks to a common technical infrastructure. The goal: to help people of all ages learn and display 21st century skills and unlock new career and educational opportunities.

Little by little, networks of organizations have built, using open badges, a whole ecosystem facilitating the recognition and valorization of skills. Everyone can acquire knowledge throughout their professional or personal lives, have it validated by communities that share the same knowledge, and join virtual or physical networks that provide additional or complementary knowledge… A whole map is thus taking shape, forming learning territories.

Open badge, a modern learning tool:

Open Badges do not replace the current system for awarding diplomas. It is not a “micro-degree”. But it fits perfectly into the 21st century, where work is now collaborative, where intelligence is collective and knowledge is shared, where skills are never acquired “once and for all” but must be constantly updated. Lifelong learning is a concept that is now accepted by society and the professional world. In this sense, open badges should be well received.

Why do we use open badges?

As you know, digital technology is becoming an increasingly important part of everyone’s life. Open badges are a way to share, grow, and recognize with disruptive and innovative tools that also help support learners. Open badges, without replacing state diplomas, provide a portfolio of skills that can be used for career changes, access to a new position, new training or simply for personal purposes.

Innovating in learning training and in the recognition of prior learning means helping everyone to access new skills and knowledge, and giving a new dynamic impetus to training.

At emage-me, we have tested this new experience for the students who use our solution. Indeed, what could be more logical after a year of work-study than to value one’s skills validated by several feedbacks and to post them on professional social networks?

You can learn more about our open badges here: