Summer greetings from Open Badge Factory!


The unusual circumstances caused by the COVID-19 have not slowed down the development of Open Badge Factory (OBF) and Open Badge Passport (OBP). It can even be said that replacing travel with efficient online work, has freed up resources for product development. In line with our product development strategy, we have strived to develop solutions that facilitate and diversify the use of digital open badges. Numerous improvements have been made in the Open Badge Factory to make the system easier to use for badge creators, and to help manage and monitor sub-organisations and large numbers of open badges. It was a good time to make these improvements, as many customers’ open badge strategies have borne fruit and the number of open badges has grown rapidly.

Open Badge Factory is a platform that specifically supports networks and the open badge ecosystems developed by networks. Sharing open badges between organisations, endorsements and the social platform Open Badge Passport are solutions we have used to promote the development of ecosystems. In early September, we will add to this selection by offering a free and open Wikibadges service (wikibadges.org). The idea behind Wikibadges is to serve as an open space where members of communities interested in open badges can co-create badges. We have built an interface between Wikibadges.org and OBF, so it will be possible to issue wikibadges via OBF and OBP in the future.

Wikibadges logo

Efforts have been made to improve the user experience of badge recipients, and the PDF Badge feature released at the beginning of the year has made it easier to receive and utilize open badges, especially for business customers. Our goal has long been to make the use of open badges easier so that all badge recipients, especially young people, and seniors, can use them naturally in their daily activities. This spring, we have taken up the challenge and developed the Open Badge Passport mobile app, which is currently in beta testing. With this outlook, we will release the official version of Mobile OBP in early September, first for Android and then for Apple devices.

How has COVID-19 appeared in Open Badge Passport?

The exceptional circumstances caused by the coronavirus have highlighted new ways of using open badges. We can mention, for example, a large British healthcare company that has used open badges and Open Badge Factory’s reporting tools to ensure its staff participate in mandatory COVID-19 training. Also, many organisations have given recognition to their employees and volunteers through open badges. Of particular interest is the fact that many of the badges created this spring have a strong social dimension. Many badges published in Open Badge Passport express people’s desire to support each other and work together to solve problems.

Covid-19 open badges

A good example of this is badges by which organisations or individuals have provided instructions for the manufacture of protective masks and other equipment. The contents of these badges may not be as precisely defined as in the open badges strictly aligning with different competence frameworks, but the popularity of the badges has been obvious, and we can learn from them that context and community are important elements in the creation of meaningful and valuable badges.

COVID-19 has brought many challenges, but also a unique opportunity to learn new skills. Open badges to identify and recognise, for example, teachers’ distance learning skills have gradually appeared in the Open Badge Passport. It has been interesting to see that many OBP users have not waited for recognition from others but have taken advantage of OBP’s Selfie Badge feature and issued themselves badges to tell in their own words about their special expertise. Citizens have learned a lot in a short time, and it would be particularly important now that this knowledge is recognised so that it will continue to benefit our society. In the coming months, there will be a huge demand for open badges and Open Badge Factory is ready to take on the challenge.

Author: Eric Rousselle, CEO, Open Badge Factory

Open Badge Factory provides the tools your organisation needs to implement a meaningful and sustainable Open Badges system. OBF is certified by IMS Global and follows the latest version of the standard.