Towards a typology of open badges

The TLC webinar debate around open badges with Prof. Ale Armellini organised by Dr Rod Cullen and Calum Thomson on the 26th of October 2015, brought  different voices together to debate about open badges in an higher education context.

I am grateful to the above and colleagues who participated in the webinar for creating this thinking and inquiry space and especially Ale for challenging  and stretching me.

All related information about the open badges debate can be found following the links

All posts collectively linked to the open badges debate with resources can be accessed at

Final thoughts…

Multiple uses of open badges
Usually we hear about open badges in the context of skills development. In my view, there is the potential to use them in much more versatile ways, I am sure, we will come up with further ideas for open badges applications as their use spreads further across  informal and formal, lifelong and lifewide, organised and practice-based learning and development.

Open badges are digital stickers with metadata that can be shared easily via the Internet.

Using the Guildford’s Alternative Uses Task (1967) technique developed to measure creativity, I have started synthesising the versatile use of open badges thanks to the TLC debate and propose the below typology of badges. This typology emerged out of practice and is the result of how we have used so far open badges in the context of informal and formal professional development of academics and other professionals who teach or support learning in higher education since 2014 in the Centre for Excellence in Learning and Teaching at Manchester Metropolitan University in informal collaboration with colleagues from other institutions and open education initiatives such as BYOD4L, TLC, FOS, LTHEchat, FLEX, Greenhouse etc.


Towards a typology of open badges

Momento: Badges can be evidence that we have been at a conference, at an event.

Community: Badges can evidence belonging to a community.

Recognition: Badges can be used to recognise contributions in the context of a course, learning activity, event, community etc. that stand out.

Achievement: Badges can be awarded for meeting specific criteria or standards in a variety of learning situations.

Playfulness: Badges can be awarded during playful learning activities as points and marking milestones.


Examples from practice linked to the above, are provided in my presentation from the debate. See below.

Anybody with Internet access, familiar with the idea and concept of badges and the badging ecosystem can award and be awarded badges by individuals, groups, institutions organisations, as well as self-create and issue these.

Badges can be awarded by institutions, organisations, groups, communities and networks, as well as by individuals. Individuals and groups can also award badges to themes elves turning them into useful self-motivators of the above typology.

These thoughts are still at an embryonic phase and your comments and suggestions are very welcome. My thinking will continue develop and change as we collect more evidence of their use and usefulness.

“Because something isn’t valued, it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have any value”

Thank you Ale, Rod, Calum and all!

Chrissi Nerantzi


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