Open Digital Badging Program

IACET Open Digital Badging Series banner with IACET logo and the words "Open Digital Badging Series" on a blue gradient background

The Open Digital Badge Program is designed to provide a step-by-step training to build organizational consensus, plan for badges in new and existing curricula, design effective meta-data, and scale to effective organizational use.  If you are ready to implement open digital badges, this is the essential program.

To leverage the amazing benefits of 21st century credentialing technology, organizations must have someone prepared to implement these powerful tools in the right way which is what this program of study is designed to do. This program is the best single pathway to fill the badging knowledge void in an adult learning organization.  Filling the badging knowledge void will provide organizations with new opportunities to promote their learning events, increase engagement and learner retention while also providing learners with a valuable portable credential they can be proud of. After this program of study, learners will have the necessary knowledge, skills, and tools needed to design and execute a successful open digital badging initiative.

Part One - Open Digital Badges: Theory and Design

This is an online, e-learning course providing learners with the opportunities to learn the basics of open digital badging in a user friendly online asynchronous environment. This means you can take the program any time you prefer. The program is designed to take approximately six hours to complete. Once you purchase the course from the online store, check out your My Courses section in the portal to access the online course.

Prerequisite: None


Part Two - Open Digital Badges: Application, Scaling, and Rollout

This is an instructor-led, live workshop that delves deeper into the open digital badging ecosystem by helping participants devise a badge program within an organization.  This interactive session is a full-day workshop that builds upon the knowledge previously gained in the introductory course in an entirely practical way with the sole intent of designing an operational badges program within the organization.

Prerequisite: Successful completion of Part One: Open Digital Badges: Theory and Design

Part Three - Open Digital Badges: Program Development and Implementation (Capstone Project)

Finally, learners will have an opportunity to complete a capstone project that showcases the mastery of ODB skills learned by providing evidence that an operational badging program, along with the credentials used, has been established at their organization.

Prerequisite: Must have actively particpated in the live workshop and submitted a prototype badge.



This series is designed for those who need knowledge and skills involving open digital badges at a basic, intermediate and advanced level. This program is applicable for training coordinators, managers, chief learning officers or others who desire practical knowledge and skills regarding open digital badging.

Each live event is limited to ensure high levels of collaboration and interactivity.

Earn Stackable Digital Badges

Earn these stackable credentials to document your knowledge and skill involving open digital badges by completing each course and post-course exercise. 

  • Earn the Bronze Badge by successfully completing the asynchronous online learning modules and assessments.
  • Earn the Silver Badge by actively participating in the live workshop.
  • Earn the Gold Badge by successfully submitting a badge prototype.
  • Earn the Platinum Badge by submitting evidence that implementation of a badging program is immanent.


Course Descriptions

Course Description: Are you confused by all the information out there about open digital badges? Are you interested in badges, but don’t know where to begin? Have you been tasked with developing badges for your organization, but need a good starting place? In this introductory online course, open digital badges are presented along with explanations about how they developed, where they work in organizations, and how badges fit nicely within new and existing training programs. Working at your own pace, this course is a well-balanced combination of theory and application, along with plenty of examples. This course will help you ascertain whether badges would be a good fit for your organization.

Prerequisite: None

Mode of Delivery: Asynchronous modules completed at any time.

Completion: When all modules are completed, an assessment is given. When the assessment is successfully completed and the module completion is verified, a bronze badge is issued to the participant.

Cost: $499 (members) / $599 (non-members)

Offering: Start any time

Course Learning Outcomes: Upon successful completion of this course, students will:

  • Identify IACET’s role in continuing education, training, and open digital badges
  • Distinguish open digital badges and what makes them unique amongst other credentials
  • Explain the importance of quality metadata within badges
  • Understand why badges as portable and shareable artifacts contribute to recognition of learning and achievement
  • Identify the role of different organizations involved in the Open Badge Standard
  • Recognize the importance of IACET’s Open Badges Standard and the additional metadata needed for conformity
  • Understand how instructional design of badges can be key for specific outcomes in organizations

Asynchronous Module

Course Description

Intended Audience

Learning Outcomes

Module 1:

Introduction to IACET and Open Digital Badges

In this introductory course, the history of IACET is presented alongside its efforts to promote high-quality open digital badges.

Individuals interested in a broad history of IACET and its recent work in open digital badges. 

In this module, the learner will:

  • Examine IACET history.
  • Identify IACET’s role in continuing education and training.
  • Recognize IACET’s role in open digital badging.

Module 2:

What are Badges?

In this foundational course, badges are presented within their technological context. Topics include the metadata fields, differentiating learning and accomplishment, curriculum design, the centrality of evidence, and common biases against badges.

Individuals interested in a foundational course to explain what badges are, what they do, and how they can be used in a variety of contexts.

In this module, the learner will:

  • Define use differences between digital and paper credentials.
  • Define a badging platform and recognize its purpose.
  • Identify ways digital recognition can travel across multiple forms of social media and professional sites.
  • Differentiate contexts in which badges may be better to recognize achievement or learning.
  • Label the metadata fields present in an open digital badge (taken from the IACET Standard).
  • Recognize the importance of metadata fields for their technological use and uniformity.
  • Recognize why metadata must be completed for each badge.
  • Recognize how metadata facilitates finding, sorting, and cataloguing badges.
  • Distinguish between recognizing learning and accomplishment.
  • Define how badges can be used to design training programs.
  • Define how badges can be used to design curricula.
  • Outline the differences in recognizing incremental progress (stackability) and overall accomplishment in training and curricular design.
  • Define the difference between a claim and evidence to support the claim.
  • Explain the need for unique evidence to support the purpose of the badge.
  • Review types of compelling evidence.
  • Recognize how evidence can take many different forms.
  • Identify specific biases against the use of badges.
  • Review reasons why poor badges exist.
  • Recognize why building high-quality, evidence-rich badges helps to support the ecosystem.

Module 3: Philosophical Characteristics of Open Digital Badges

In this module, the learner is introduced to some of the principles of open digital badges which contribute to best practices. Topics include advanced curricular design with badges, principles of stackability, use of metadata for particular goals, and the importance of creativity and flexibility in design of badges.

Individuals who are interested in an advanced understanding of curriculum design as it relates to the incorporation of badges.

In this module, learners will:

  • Describe why portability and shareability are important to badge earners.
  • Locate the metadata which allows for portability and shareability. 
  • Recognize how curricular design allows portability and shareability across multiple media.
  • Outline how incremental progress can build accomplishment and recognition in a curricular design.
  • Describe the ways evidence can be structured to indicate clear incremental paths in a curricular design.
  • Identify how badges can be used to indicate progress toward a learning or performance goal.  
  • Outline how stackability contributes to a digital portfolio of accomplishments and learning recognition. 
  • Describe how different models of stacking credentials can transform training programs.
  • Identify how to limit the scope of the metadata around a specific and identifiable accomplishment or learning artifact.  
  • Explain how to use aspects of the metadata to achieve certain curricular goals like sorting and tagging badges.
  • Outline ways to make badges original to the accomplishment or learning artifact.
  • Identify how to work with metadata to streamline some processes, while producing evidence-rich credentials. 
  • Demonstrate how creativity can lend value to badges, particularly in original design.
  • Describe why transportable artifacts are important to earners, particularly in training and professional accomplishment. 
  • Indicate the various media in which badges can travel and reside.  
  • Identify how to design metadata in ways that are understandable in multiple contexts.

Module 4:

Open Digital Badges Technical Standards and Structure

In this module, a brief history of the open digital badge standard is introduced, along with the role of IMS Global in badges today.

Individuals who are interested in the open digital badges standard and why it is critical to the success of badges.

In this module, the learner will:

  • Summarize a brief history of open badge specification.
  • Identify the role of IMS Global in open badges.
  • Define the purpose of an open badges backpack.
  • Recognize how the open badge technology standard contributes to portability. 
  • Identify the role of IMS Global in open digital badges.
  • Define the purpose of an open digital badge backpack.
  • Recognize how the open digital badge technology standard contributes to portability. 

Module 5:

IACET's Open Digital Badges Metadata Standard and Badges

In this module, the IACET badging standard is introduced with key additions to the open digital badge standard. Topics include the introduction of the badges taxonomy and communication strategies for promoting badge acceptance and use.

Individuals who are interested in issuing badges which conform to the IACET badging standard.

In this module, learners will: 

  • Recognize why an IACET open digital badge standard is necessary.
  • Describe how the IACET open digital badge standard works.
  • Recognize the IACET / ITCC Taxonomy and its real-world use.
  • Identify communication strategies for promoting badge acceptance and use. 

103 Module 6: Instructional Design and Open Digital Badges

In this module, advanced concepts of instructional design, assessment, and evaluation are introduced in relation to open digital badges.

Individuals who are interested in implementing a full-scale badging program and evaluating its effectiveness.

In this module, the learner will:

  • Explore fundamental principles of instructional design necessary for making the most of an open digital badge program.
  • Define the components of a quality needs analysis.
  • Define and differentiate between goals and outcomes.
  • Recognize instructional goals.
  • Recognize SMART outcomes.
  • Recognize ABCD outcomes.
  • Recognize and apply Bloom’s Taxonomy.
  • Define validity and reliability in assessment.
  • Recognize how to assess knowledge.
  • Recognize how to assess skills.
  • Recognize how to assess attitudes.
  • Recognize how to evaluate learning events using Kirkpatrick’s Four Levels of Evaluation.
  • Recognize Level One – Reaction.
  • Recognize Level Two – Learning.
  • Recognize Level Three – Behavior.
  • Recognize Level Four – Results.

Course Description: After completing the online course introducing badges, this live webinar helps participants devise a badge program within an organization, build a prototype badge, and learn about how to scale a badging program. This interactive webinar session builds on previous knowledge in an entirely practical way with the intent of designing an operational badges program within your given organization. Some current badge providers are explored with a live demonstration to show functionalities, layouts, and basic badge construction.

Topics include thinking through design ideas, resource inventories, metadata possibilities and challenges, and curriculum and training factors. Also covered are how to build portable and sharable credentials, how to scale a badging prototype to a larger implementation, and how to problem-solve using the various components of badge meta-data.

The number of participants in each session is limited so you can have personalized attention with the badges expert and your fellow participants.

Prerequisite: Successful completion of Part One: Open Digital Badges: Theory and Design

Mode of Delivery: Synchronous, webinar-style interaction with expert. Small group interaction. Scheduled in advance.

Completion: Successful completion includes active participation in the virtual webinar. Instructor verification of active participation is needed. When the active participation is verified, a silver badge is issued to the participant. When a prototype badge is created and sent to the instructor for verification, a gold badge is issued to the participant.

Cost: $499 (members) / $599 (non-members)

Offering: 4x / year (Q1, Q2, Q3, Q4)

Course Learning Outcomes: Upon successful completion of this course, students will:

  • Recognize how other attendees are using open digital badges.
  • Identify areas of difficulty often experienced when using open digital badges.
  • Identify major questions about open digital badges to address.
  • Construct an open digital badge program.
  • Discover potential pitfalls in implementing.
  • Complete the open digital badges design worksheet, share, and receive feedback.
  • Identify features of major badging platforms.
  • Discriminate between different badging platforms.
  • Design and implement an open digital badge using a badging platform.
  • Issue a sample badge to demonstrate the workflow of how a badging platform works.
  • Develop a vision for how their organization will use open digital badges.
  • Devise a plan to launch a badging program within one’s organization and scale it to size with appropriate open digital badges
  • Engage in constructive peer-review to problem-solve and mitigate challenges to implementation
  • Relate experiences learned from other attendees to their own organizations.

Project Description: After completing all the course work and developing a prototype badge, learners will have all the skills, knowledge and tools needed to successfully implement a digital badging program in their own organization.  To complete the project, particpants in the Open Digital Badging Program will provide evidence that demonstrates they applied those skills by initiating a new program that results in the issuance of a digital badge or evidence demonstration they integrated digital badging into existing curricula.  The particpant should also provide evidence of their role in the development and deployment of the digital badging initiative and show that it was completed after attending the workshop.  

Meet the Instructor

Dr. James E. Willis, III was introduced to open digital badges at Purdue University when he worked as an Educational Assessment Specialist in Information Technology. He later worked on a MacArthur Foundation grant as a Research Associate and Project Coordinator for Open Digital Badges in Higher Education in the Center for Research on Learning and Technology at Indiana University. Since 2016, James has worked as an educational consultant with the International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET) where he wrote the Badging Guidelines, supplementary materials, and educational materials for the Open Digital Badge Series.


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