Mozilla Open Badges is a way to get recognition for the skills learnt anywhere, offered by Mozilla. A badge is a symbol or indicator of an accomplishment, skill, quality or interest. A digital badge is an online representation of a skill earned. However, Open Badges work in a more advanced way:
- Firstly they allow the users to verify their skills, interests and achievements through credible organisations.
- Secondly the users can attach that information to a badge image file while the metadata is hardcoded for future access and review. (Metadata is data that describes other data and summarises basic information about them.)
- Earners can combine multiple badges from different issuers to reveal all their achievements. Badges can be displayed wherever earners want them on the web, and share them for employment, education or lifelong learning.
There are 3 participating groups involved in the open badging system as described in the wiki of Open Badges
- Issuers: Issuers can be any organization that creates badges, makes them available to earners and awards them. Issuers can be Traditional educational institutions, Professional bodies, International credential assessment agencies, Non formal, community learning organisations, Communities of practice, Afterschool programs and learning networks, Online courses and open courseware initiatives, Government agencies and other public sector bodies, Employers
- Earners: Earners are individuals (or groups) that are interested to get badges, apply for them and decide where to display them.
- Displayers: The role of the displayers is to display badges earned by particular earners which also involves verifying the badges.
How does assessment work?
As explained in the Frequently Asked Questions of the Mozilla Open Badges wiki, when an earner sees a badge they wish to acquire, they can typically apply for it through the issuers website. Depending on the badge, the earner may be required to submit evidence together with their application. Issuer administrative personnel can then review the badge application against criteria defined for the badge, deciding whether to award (issue) the badge or not. The reviewer can optionally forward feedback to the earner regarding their application.
For badges to hold real value and carry the weight of more traditional grades or degrees, assessment and quality is critical. Badges can contain multiple levels of assessment, depending on the use case, community or intended audience. Some require distinct pre-defined assessment exercises and success criteria while others may be loosely defined and require earner reflection or peer recommendations.