1. How do digital badges differ from CVs?

CVs are static and constantly need to be updated in order to keep track of one’s skills developments and achievements. Badges, on the other hand, are inherently dynamic, and can be presented in ever-changing combinations, creating a more detailed and ever-evolving image of a person’s CV. Furthermore digital badges, unlike a CV, can be easily verified at the source, and all interested parties can be certain that a badge represents a legitimate and authenticated result, the nature of which is described in the badge itself.

2. Are “Digital Badges” and "Open Badges" the same thing?

A Digital Badge is a visual graphic representation of a competence gained by a subject. The badge allows you to verify, transfer and share on the web the information relating to the competence shown by the badge.
Open Badges is an open standard that allows the creation of digital badges. An Open Badge is comprised of a digital image which includes metadata (baked metadata). Such metadata, just as the ingredients of a baked cake, cannot be modified and an Open Badge guarantees the authenticity of the data embedded in it. Being Open Badges an open and standardized format, it makes sure that badges that are created and issued can be viewed, verified and shared on every platform aligned to the standard.

3. Which information is embedded in an Open Badge?

Open Badges include information regarding the badge’s issuing Organization or Person. Moreover they include the criteria on the basis of which the badge was issued, the tests implemented to verify these criteria, when the badge was issued, and a verifiable reference to the person who obtained it. Some badges can also include links to detailed tests descriptions, expiry dates, searchable tags and compliance to standards or educational framework.

4. In which format do Open Badges get coded in?

Open Badges are shown as a PNG or SVG image files which include non-visible metadata in JSON or JSON-LD format.

5. What is a Badge Class?

A Badge Class represents a specific kind of badges, i.e. “Level I Certification by manufacturer X”. The Badge Class does not contain information relating the single user which earned the badge; it only contains information attaining the kind of badge itself: the abilities which are represented by the badge, the criteria needed to earn such a badge, the exams to pass to show having the requested criteria, the graphic image which represents it, etc.
Each Badge Class can be assigned to many people who fulfill the assigning criteria.

6. What is a Badge Assertion?

A Badge Assertion is the single instance of a Badge Class released to a specific person.
For example, if aBadge Class is the “Level I Certification by manufacturer X” an assertion of such a badge could be the “Level I Certification by manufacturer X issued to John Doe”. Therefore an Assertion is made of all generic information relating the badge, plus all the information that uniquely identify the person who earned such a badge.

7. What do Badge Creators do?

Whoever designs the Badge Class, be it an Organization or a person, it is referred to as ‘the Creator’. The latter defines the competences that a badge represents, the criteria requested to obtain it, the tests to pass to earn it, the exams to show that a candidate fulfills the right criteria, the graphic image that represents it, the possible expiration date of the badge, etc.
Sometimes the work of both Creators and Issuers are carried out by the same person or Organization.

8. What do Badge Issuers do?

The badge Issuer is the Organization or person that assigns badges once it has been proven that the assignment criteria have been met by the candidates. The Issuer is who, starting from a Badge Class, releases the single assertions to the people who have earned the badge.
Sometimes the work of both Creators and Issuers are carried out by the same person or Organization.

9. What is the Endorsement?

The Endorsement adds a layer of external validation and approval to what the Badge represents. The endorsement may confer the badge a higher social or professional value.

10. Who are the recipients (earners) of the badges?

The Earner of a badge is whom received the badge once he/she proved to have fulfilled all required criteria to obtain it. Once received, he/she becomes the owner of the Badge Assertion. The Earner can collect all the earned assertion on his/her professional and experience path and store them in his/her personal backpack. He/she can chose to publicly share his/her badges showing them on social media or sending them to whoever he/she decides for evaluation – referred to as the consumer – i.e. a potential employer.

11. What is a backpack?

Open Badges provide a visual representation of someone’s achievements and embed all the data and proofs which allowed to verify the earning criteria for each badge. Everyone can take with him/her wherever they go and this is done through the personal backpack that portrays a detailed image of one’s learning path.
The backpack is the virtual location where the earned Open Badges can be stored, and from where the badges can be shared everywhere on the web. The backpack enables the owner of the badges to keep track of his/her achievements, allowing him/her to organize and show the badges wherever he/she feels like to.

12. Who are the badge consumers?

End Consumers of badges are the people or the Organizations to whom badges get shown, i.e. a recruiter who is evaluating the candidates’ badges for a specific job opening.

13. Who can issue badges?

Badges can be released by anyone, be it an Organization or a person, that can be identified by a name, a description, an URL, an image and an e-mail address.
A fundamental aspect for a full appreciation of the issued badges is that the issuer needs to be considered trustworthy by the earners and the final consumers, with regards to the credentials represented by the badge. For example a badge for ‘expert in structural calculations’ should be issued by an Organization considered to be competent and trusworthy with regards to ‘structural calculations’.

14. Can the Badge Managing Platform be certified?

Yes they can.
IMS GLOBAL Consortium defines the Open Badge standards. Through their certification IMS GLOBAL ensures the interoperability between multiple platforms.
Open Badge Certification 2.0 can be obtained for

  • Open Badge Iusser
  • Open Badge Host
  • Open Badge Displayer

A Certified Platform offers a greater peace of mind compared to the non-certified ones.