What are Badges/Microcreditals?

Badges are seen as a way to grant certification for both formal and informal learning in the form of micro-credits. A key aspect of gamification is to build in easy-to-reach incentives, and badges are a simple way to bring that idea to learning. The concept behind badging draws on longstanding ways learning has been documented in other settings, such as the personal skills and achievement when a Boy or Girl Scout earns a merit badge.

A digital badge is a clickable graphic that contains an online record of or web link to 1) an achievement, 2) the work required for the achievement, 3) evidence of such work, and 4) information about the organization, individual, or entity that issued the badge.

The badging ecosystem consists of three primary elements: Earners, Issuers, and Displayers. Earners are the individuals who obtain badges. Issuers are the individuals or organizations who create and award badges to Earners. Displayers are web-based platforms that facilitate public viewing of badges, such as Mozilla Backpack, Wordpress, and potentially social platforms such as Facebook and LinkedIn.

Digital badges can be used, among other things, to depict course completion, establish micro-credentials, represent honors, show event participation, and demonstrate community membership. - brettbixler brettbixler Feb 19, 2014

The approach is being used in learning environments like the Khan Academy, with promising results. People watch videos on specific subjects and earn new badges by doing so. Mozilla has published an open specification for badging — the Open Badge Initiative (OBI) — that enables providers and users alike to easily display their achievements on the web. Badges can be used as a way to incorporate some of the advantages of game mechanics as participants work through various levels or stages to achieve credentials. While badges are not by any means pervasive in education systems, they appeal to many educators because they are considered to be more authentic signs of knowledge comprehension and skill acquisition than standard tests, grades, or course credits.