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Digital Badges Explained: Why, How and When to Use Them

what is a digital badge

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Digital badges play a crucial role in recognizing and validating skills, achievements, and credentials across various domains. In this article, we will delve into the concept and application of digital badges, explore their benefits for both organizations and badge earners, and outline the essential steps for creating high-quality digital badges. Throughout, we’ll refer to LegiCred as the platform for digital credentials, emphasizing its features and advantages. 

What Is A Digital Badge?

what is a digital badge

Definition and Evolution

A digital badge is a digital representation of a skill, achievement, or credential earned by an individual. Unlike traditional certificates or diplomas, digital badges are dynamic, containing metadata that provides detailed information about the accomplishment. This metadata typically includes the badge earner’s name, the issuing organization, and the specific criteria met to earn the badge.

The concept of digital badges has evolved over the years, finding its roots in the Open Badge Initiative. Spearheaded by Mozilla, the Open Badge Initiative aimed to create a standard for digital badges, making them shareable and transferable across different platforms and systems. Today, digital badges adhere to the Open Badge Standard, ensuring their interoperability and compatibility.

What are Open Badges?

Open Badges is an initiative and standard for creating, earning, and displaying digital badges. Developed by Mozilla, the Open Badges standard provides a framework for the creation and issuance of digital badges, which are portable, verifiable, and interoperable representations of skills, achievements, and credentials. The goal of Open Badges is to offer a universal method for recognizing and validating learning and accomplishments, making it easier for individuals to showcase their skills and for organizations to verify and acknowledge those achievements.

Key Features of Digital Badges


what is a digital badge

1. Metadata Richness

One of the defining features of digital badges is the inclusion of metadata. This metadata serves as a comprehensive descriptor of the badge, offering insights into the skills or achievements it represents. For organizations and employers, this means a deeper understanding of an individual’s qualifications.

2. Shareability and Verifiability

These badges are designed to be easily shareable across various online platforms, from social media to professional networking sites. Additionally, they come with built-in verification mechanisms, allowing employers or educational institutions to validate the authenticity of the badge easily.

3. Visual Representation

The visual design of a badge is not merely aesthetic; it plays a crucial role in brand recognition and credibility. A well-designed badge enhances the perceived value of the accomplishment it represents.

Why Digital Badges Matter

Current Challenges in Credentialing

Before we delve into the significance of digital badges, let’s acknowledge the challenges faced by traditional credentialing systems. These challenges include:

  • Dropout Rates in Courses: A significant portion of participants drop out before completing educational programs.
  • Enrollment Decline: Economic uncertainties and concerns about the value of education contribute to a decrease in enrollment rates.
  • Membership Renewal Decline: Membership-based organizations may experience a decline in renewals, impacting their sustainability.
  • Overburdened Career Centers: Career centers may struggle with overburdened resources, and students may be unaware of available employment assistance.
  • Time-Consuming Certificate Creation: The manual creation and printing of certificates can be time-consuming for educational institutions.

Digital Badges as Solutions

Digital badges present solutions to the above mentioned challenges. Here’s how:

1. Addressing Dropout Rates

These provide a modular approach to learning, allowing participants to earn recognition for completing specific modules or projects. This can significantly reduce dropout rates as participants receive acknowledgment and motivation at various stages of their learning journey.

2. Tackling Enrollment Decline

The shareability and verifiability make them valuable assets in a competitive education landscape. As learners share their achievements online, it serves as organic marketing for educational institutions, potentially attracting more students.

3. Boosting Membership Renewals

For membership-based organizations, offering digital badges as a part of their programs can enhance the perceived value of membership. Members who earn badges may be more likely to renew their memberships, considering the added recognition and benefits.

4. Supporting Career Centers

These badges can be linked to specific skills and competencies, making it easier for career centers to match students with relevant employment opportunities. The shareability of badges also allows students to showcase their skills to potential employers.

5. Streamlining Certificate Creation

The automation and digital nature of badge creation significantly reduce the time and effort required for certificate issuance. This addresses the time efficiency concerns associated with manual certificate creation.

Latest Stats on Digital Badge Adoption

what is a digital badge

To underscore the growing significance of digital badges, let’s delve into the latest statistics:

  • According to a survey conducted by the International Data Corporation (IDC), 92% of hiring managers believe that certifications, including digital badges, are influential in hiring decisions.
  • LinkedIn reports a significant increase in the use of digital badges, with a 63% year-over-year growth in members sharing certifications on their profiles.
  • A study by the American Council on Education (ACE) found that learners who earned digital badges were more likely to complete their courses and attain positive learning outcomes.
  • In the corporate sector, 80% of organizations surveyed by the HR Certification Institute indicated that they would be more likely to hire a candidate with digital badges.

These statistics highlight the growing recognition and acceptance of digital badges across various sectors, emphasizing their relevance and impact.

Attributes of Digital Badges 

what is a digital badge

  • Custom Badge Design: An ideal platform offers guidelines and templates for badge visuals, ensuring brand recognition, establishing credibility, and representing designations effectively.
  • Expiration Date: Organizations can set an expiration date for badges based on the nature of the credential, accompanied by automated notifications to badge earners.
  • Verification Button: The platform facilitates easy badge verification using the ‘Verify’ button on its platform, allowing badge earners to authenticate their credentials when required by employers, recruiters, or educational institutions.
  • Celebrate Button: The users can celebrate others’ achievements by utilizing the ‘Celebrate’ button, fostering a sense of community among badge earners.
  • Metadata: This structured information within digital credentials describes achievements, criteria, and outcomes, providing valuable insights into the earner’s capabilities.
  • Template Attributes: Metadata fields like type, level, time commitment, and cost allow for accurate badge comparisons and future badge suggestions.
  • Skill Tags: Highlighting skills is essential for the quality and relevance of badges. LegiCred’s algorithm interprets descriptions and criteria to suggest fitting skills.
  • Earning Criteria: Quality metadata includes clear outlines of activities and actions completed by badge earners to merit the credential, with added contextual links.

Applications of Digital Badges

what is a digital badge

Digital badges find relevance in various settings where recognition, validation, and skill demonstration are paramount. Let’s explore common scenarios where digital badges prove invaluable:

  • Online Learning and Education: Educational institutions use digital badges to recognize students for completing modules, projects, or courses. Examples include badges for “Introduction to Analytics” or “Creating an Introductory Module.”
  • Professional Development: Organizations issue badges to employees or members completing training programs or acquiring new skills. Examples include badges for “Marketing Essentials Progress – 2 Modules Complete” or “Infor Customer Success Series Program Evangelist.”
  • Certifications and Credentialing: Industry bodies use badges to verify individuals meeting specific standards in fields like IT, healthcare, or project management. Examples include badges for “Cyber Professional – Prevent – Technical” or “Registered Nurse.”
  • Skills Validation: Badges validate a range of skills from coding to language proficiency and soft skills like leadership. Examples include badges for “Sparking Soft Skills for Engineers” or “Emotional Intelligence Workshop.”
  • Volunteer and Nonprofit Work: Nonprofits issue badges to recognize volunteers for their contributions. Examples include badges for “OpenDaylight Contributor 2022” or “GovHack 2022 Volunteer.”
  • Conference and Event Participation: Attendees receive badges as proof of participation in conferences, workshops, or events. Examples include badges for “Confluence 2022 Attendee” or “Focus on Security Attendee.”
  • Personal Development: Individuals interested in personal growth earn badges, showcasing their commitment to lifelong learning. Examples include badges for “Personal Leadership” or “Personal Development Programme – The Learning Company.”

Advantages of Using Digital Badges

Discover the advantages of digital badges—explore the transformative impact on recognition and validation across diverse domains. Read on for insights and benefits.

Benefits for Issuers

  • Enhanced Credibility and Reputation: Issuers gain credibility by offering verified and recognized badges, enhancing their reputation in the market.
  • Increased Brand Awareness: Sharing digital credentials on social media serves as organic marketing, increasing brand visibility and promoting course offerings.
  • Drive Enrollment: Digital credentials attract more students, valuing shareable qualifications for professional profiles and job prospects.
  • Competitive Advantage: Providing digital credentials differentiates issuers and showcases commitment to innovation, attracting more stakeholders who value credibility.
  • Efficient Verification and Cost Savings: Streamlined verification processes lead to cost savings by eliminating the need for physical certificates and transcripts.
  • Security: The inherent security features make digital credentials tamper-resistant and secure against forgery, ensuring the integrity of the credentialing process.

Benefits for Badge Earners

  • Verified Skills and Qualifications: Digital credentials offer verified proof of skills, making badge earners more attractive to employers and educational institutions.
  • Competitive Advantage: Badge earners gain a competitive edge by showcasing commitment to skill development, with industry micro-credentials being highly valued by employers.
  • Accessibility and Portability: Digital credentials are easily accessible and highly portable, allowing badge earners to showcase achievements widely.
  • Motivation and Recognition: Earning digital credentials provides a sense of accomplishment and recognition, boosting motivation and confidence.
  • Lifelong Learning and Skill Development: Digital credentials encourage continuous learning and skill development, promoting lifelong learning.

As badge earners excel, they contribute not only to their own prospects but also enhance the reputation of organizations as valuable learning providers, creating a cycle of mutual success.

How to Create Quality Digital Badges

what is a digital badge

Creating high-quality digital badges is a crucial aspect of leveraging their benefits. Here are key steps organizations can follow:

1. Select the Right Platform

Choosing a reputable and secure platform is the foundation of successful digital badge creation. An ideal platform provides a robust and interoperable solution.

2. Engage Stakeholders

Collaboration with relevant stakeholders, including instructors, administrators, and learners, is essential. Their input can refine badge criteria and design, ensuring that badges align with meaningful accomplishments.

3. Utilize Onboarding

The perfect platform should offer various onboarding packages, allowing organizations to choose the most suitable one for their team. Onboarding enhances user experience and overall badge quality.

4. Clearly Define Badge Criteria

Defining clear and specific criteria for earning a badge is crucial. This ensures that the badge represents meaningful accomplishments and contributes to the overall value of the credential.

5. Offer Pathways and Stacking

Motivate learners to continue their learning journey by creating badge pathways or stacking options. This encourages continuous skill development and engagement.

6. Use Analytics

Implementing analytics is vital for tracking badge earning and sharing. Insights gained from analytics provide valuable data for program improvement.

Current Trends and Future Outlook

The adoption of digital badges continues to grow, driven by technological advancements, changing education paradigms, and the evolving needs of the workforce. Some notable trends and predictions include:

  • Blockchain Integration: The use of blockchain technology for enhanced security and immutability of digital badges is gaining traction.
  • Micro-Credentials: The rise of micro-credentials allows individuals to earn and showcase specialized skills, contributing to a more granular representation of capabilities.
  • Employer Recognition: As more employers embrace digital badges, their recognition as credible indicators of skills and qualifications will continue to increase.
  • Integration with Learning Platforms: Seamless integration of digital badges with online learning platforms enhances their accessibility and usability.


Digital badges represent a paradigm shift in how we acknowledge and validate skills and achievements. Leveraging platforms like LegiCred, organizations can not only address current challenges in credentialing but also position themselves at the forefront of educational and professional innovation. The statistics and trends underline the growing importance of digital badges, making them a valuable asset in the pursuit of lifelong learning and career advancement.

Whether you’re an educational institution, a professional organization, or an individual on a learning journey, embracing digital badges is not just a trend—it’s a strategic move towards a more transparent, accessible, and dynamic credentialing ecosystem. The time to explore, implement, and benefit from digital badges is now.

Issue Your Digital Badges With LegiCred

Leveraging LegiCred, a blockchain-based platform for educational document issuance and verification, ensures a secure and tamper-resistant environment. With LegiCred, the issuance of digital badges becomes transparent, traceable, and verifiable, safeguarding the integrity of educational achievements. The blockchain technology employed by LegiCred enhances trust and authenticity, providing a reliable solution for both students and institutions in the dynamic landscape of digital credentials.

Reach out to us to know more!