What is a badge?
“A “badge” is a symbol or indicator of an accomplishment, skill, quality, or interest. From the Boy and Girl Scouts to PADI diving instruction, to the more recently popular geolocation game Foursquare, badges have been successfully used to set goals, motivate behaviors, represent achievements, and communicate success in many contexts. We are exploring the use of digital badges—online representations and records of achievements and skills—for learning contexts.” (Knight & Casilli, 2012)*
*Knight, Erin & Casilli, Carla (2012). Mozilla Open Badges. Game Changers: Education and Information Technologies. In EDUCAUSE 2012. URL: http://www.educause.edu/library/resources/case-study-6-mozilla-open-badges
What is the difference between a digital and an open badge?
“Digital badges are symbolic representations of an accomplishment, skill, quality or interest that can be easily shared and communicated across contexts such as academic and work-related contexts (Knight & Casilli, 2012; Buchem & Pérez-Sanagustín, 2013). The Open Badges Initiative of Mozilla and MacArthur Foundation have explored digital badges as elements of learning that can be used to set goals, stimulate motivation, recognise and represent achievements, supporting open credentialing and accreditation for formal and informal learning (Knight & Casilli, 2012). An important difference between digital badges and open badges is that open badges are designed to be autonomously collected by individual learners in the digital backpack and displayed by learners across different contexts and environments. In this way open badges have the potential to form living transcripts of individual competencies (Knight & Casilli, 2012). Open badges offer a flexible mechanism not only for motivating learners or goal setting but also for recognising personal competencies and achievements and communicating these between education and work. In this sense badges can be viewed as boundary objects, which can be used to cross boundaries between existing divisions such as formal and informal learning or academic and professional context.” Buchem (2014)*
*Buchem, Ilona (2014). Open Badges for competence recognition and employment application: Insights from the German qualification program “Credit Points” for migrant academics. Proceedings of the EDEN 2014 ANNUAL Conference. E-learning at Work and the Workplace From Education to Employment and Meaningful Work with ICTs. European Distance and E-Learning Network: Zagreb, Croatia.
Also check the Mozilla Wiki for more information on Open Badges.