Establishing Open Badges in Europe - The Open Badge Network

Ilona Buchem
Beuth University of Applied Sciences Berlin, Germany


Mozilla Open Badges are Web-enabled tokens of learning and accomplishment (Casilli & Hickey, 2016). The Mozilla Open Badges initiative and the Open Badges Infrastructure (OBI) both advocate badges as open micro-credentials which can be used as indicators of skills, achievements or credits for all types of learning (Knight & Casilli, 2012). Open badges are unique in that they are information-rich due to the embedded metadata as well as interoperable due to the open standard. Since the introduction of open badges in 2012, a number innovators worldwide have developed both technical solutions to extend and optimise the badge system and educational programs focusing on issuing, earning and sharing open badges. The open badge community has been growing ever since with both global and regional initiatives enhancing the uptake of badges and badging systems. One of such initiatives is the Open Badge Network (OBN), an Erasmus+ strategic partnership, which brings together organisations from across Europe to support the development of the open badge ecosystem, promoting the use of open badges to recognise all forms of learning. This paper introduces the project Open Badge Network and its mission to promote Open Badges in Europe. First, it describes the emergence and development of Open Badges technology, projects and initiatives since 2011 until 2016 including the establishment of the Open Badge Network in 2015. Then it discusses Open Badges from three perspectives, i.e. (a) as an open infrastructure (technical perspective), (b) as open educational practice (educational perspective), and (c) as an open movement (sociological perspective), and go on to illustrate how these three perspectives are reflected in the vision, mission, activities and outcomes of the Open Badge Network (OBN). The paper closes with recommendations for promoting and establishing a European network aligned with the Open Badges standard, practice and movement.

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