I came across Jaap’s article today, referring to the Mozilla Open Badges program and I must say I liked the idea of expressing your skills, your attendance to an online course, etc. Maybe badges aren’t the “definitive” way of assessment, but they could help figuring out new ways of evaluation.

However, the real question is “Do we really need some formative evaluation?” I don’t know. In the current system we probably do. There still are people who tell other people if they are “good enough” or not. And is some cases this is a good way of making sure the necessary skills are accomplished. But in others, one could argue the need of a supervising entity, telling us what we learn is the right information.

So, I think badges could be a useful tool of indicating a level of accomplishment. Will they be the assessment revolution lots of people are waiting for? Probably not, but let’s stick with “a useful tool”.

What do you think about Open Badges?

An overview:




3 thoughts on “Badges?

  1. Hi Lars and Jaap,

    This is an interesting thread of conversation. I think that badges are a form of communication. Like diplomas and degrees, a badge needs to be a trustworthy form of communication if they are to be of any use. I do recognize that a diploma is not always trustworthy even if it is from a prestigious college. When I dig into the issues of credentialing, it seems that employers and others want to rely on judgements made by still others about competence, whether it be CISCO certification, degree or a badge. To me they are cut from the same cloth. Badges — if they are trustworthy, to me based on some meaningful assessment — are a way to allow entities outside formal education to credential a “knowing person.” If a person can just create a badge, it’s about as good a the resume s/he writes; it still needs to be assessed and vetted. An organization can create a badge through Mozilla, but it is only as trustworthy as the originating organization. Neither seem to improve communication. So what are the options for recognizing and communicating learning in a valid and useful way? What needs to happen?

    Thanks so much for the posts,


    • Hi Tai,

      A late reply to your post. I love you framing of one core problems with badges “An organization can create a badge through Mozilla, but it is only as trustworthy as the originating organization”. One future scenario is that Open Badges are part on an “electronic portfolio” and the work samples/demonstration of skills are more detailed than a university transcript. This showcase give employers a clear view of what they have learned…

  2. Ha Lars, Nice to meet you again.
    Badges could be a reminder of ones way through the world of study and learning. Like opening that file with old diplomas, and seeing all courses and congresses we did visit and enjoy.
    I do not care so much about badges, but assessment seems to be the key to a better world if we may believe our politicians. I doubt it, but the talk goes on.

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