Traditional physical badges, have been used for centuries as a tool to show membership status, to prove possessing certain skills or a specific achievement.
There currently is a vast use of traditional badges which can take the form of ID cards, membership cards, first generation credit cards, attendance certificates, and many other kinds of identification based on traditional supports.
This type of certificates, however, cannot satisfy today’s needs for on-line sharing, verification, portability and forgery-robustness.
In the last decade, both Mozilla Foundation and MacArthur Foundation, have been developing digital badge systems which are rapidly taking over the traditional certificates used to certify group membership, possession of skills or achieved results.
A digital badge essentially is a ‘virtual certificate’ that is not based on a physical support. It certifies specific characteristics of its owner. The digital badge can easily be shared, watched, and verified on-line.
These badges can be ‘earned’ in various environments which span from gaming to training to professional achievements at work, etc.
Mozilla Foundation together with MacArthur Foundation, started the ‘Open Badges’ project (www.openbadges.org) in 2011, from then, in 2014, the ‘Badge Alliance’ (http://www.badgealliance.org/) was started, a network of organizations and individuals with the shared vision of building the open badging ecosystem, and pushing forward the open badges specifications. Since January 1st 2017 IMS Global Learning Consortium (https://www.imsglobal.org/activity/digital-badges) has officially taken the responsibility to manage and evolve open badges’ specifications.