Building badge value with Endorsement


Endorsement is one of the most exciting elements of the Open Badges 2.0 standard and Discendum was early out of the gate in February 2018 with a simple yet powerful implementation of Endorsement for Open Badge Factory and CanCred Factory that just keeps on getting better.


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Endorsement - exciting?

What’s so exciting about Endorsement, you may ask. Well, for one thing, it promises to resolve recurring questions about the “credibility of badges” by providing third party validation that can be formal (like accreditation) or informal (“fits our purpose”). Endorsement can also strengthen collaboration, increase portability and encourage the development of meaningful badge ecosystems.

Open Badge Factory’s implementation of Endorsement builds on an earlier innovation: “Badge Sharing”– the ability to share badge classes (“issuable badges”) between organisations who have set up trusted connections. Badge sharing enables organisations to extend their credentialing footprint and broaden acceptance of their badges and the skills they represent.

Adding Endorsement to Badge Sharing sets the stage for the growth of clustered trust networks within larger recognition ecosystems – it’s a “network of trust networks” vision that draws inspiration from the founding principles of the open Internet.

Endorsement has been added under a new Network tab in Open Badge Factory:

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The Network suite of features now comprises badge endorsement, issuer endorsement and badge sharing. Using these features, organisations can now:

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Early adopter: HPass

Endorsement of organisations is now being embedded into the DNA of HPass, the international humanitarian skills recognition network now in piloting, scheduled for public launch in early 2019. Organisations who can demonstrate audited compliance with the HPass Standards for Learning or Assessment Providers will become “HPass Approved” on the system, a form of accreditation that will be signposted with Endorsement metadata baked into their badges and a distinctive visual quality mark they can display on their badge images. This is an example of a formal “accreditation-like” endorsement, but HPass badges can also be endorsed informally by peer organisations.

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Building regional trust networks with Endorsement

CanCred’s Don Presant is currently working with eCampusOntario, an edtech consortium of 45 colleges and universities to “rethink recognition” using Open Badges as alternative credentials. Members recently began exploring how they could collaborate to improve the recognition value and portability of their badges using partner networks, endorsement and badge sharing.

This collaborative vision of recognition has the potential to leverage the pivotal strengths of post-secondary education as it reaches out to stakeholders across sectors:


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Coming soon: endorse for free, endorsement by earners

An organisation needs to be registered on Open Badge Factory in order to be able to endorse other organisations.

But next up on the development roadmap is the ability to invite partner organisations such as employers to join Factory at the Free level so they can endorse issuable badges that they value.

Coming a bit later is the ability for Earners (and others) to endorse issued badges (“badge assertions”), thereby completing the Endorsement trifecta laid out in v2.0 of the Open Badges specification. This promises to be a significant improvement on the current Passport ability to rate badges with 1-5 stars.

Adding Alignment to the mix - “secret sauce” for recognition

Open Badge Factory and CanCred Factory also fully support the improved Alignment element of Open Badges version 2. Combining the power of mutual trust and endorsement with Alignment to skills, qualifications and standards may be the “secret sauce” for truly portable badge recognition:

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You may want to remix your own alignment/endorsement recipes, mashing local context and trusted connections with national and even international frameworks such as AAC&U’s VALUE rubrics, Connecting Credentials, the European Qualifications Framework or the ESCO Transversal Skills framework.

Explore further

Author:

Don Presant, CanCred.ca

CanCred Factory is a secure cloud service for organisations to issue digital credentials based on Open Badges. CanCred Passport is a free, easy to use home in the cloud for Open Badges that you’ve earned for yourself. Both services are built on Open Badge Factory and Open Badge Passport technology. Hosted in Canada by Canadians.