Digital Badges



What is a digital badge?

A digital badge is a validated indicator of accomplishment, skill, quality, or interest that can be earned in many learning environments. Open digital badging makes it easy for anyone to issue, earn, and display badges across the web—through an infrastructure that uses shared and open technical technical standards. 

The world is changing fast and, today more than ever, traditional modes of assessment fail to capture the learning that happens everywhere and at every age. Digital badges are a powerful new tool for identifying and validating the rich array of people's skills, knowledge, accomplishments, and competencies. Digital badges inspire new pathways to learning and connect learners to opportunities, resources, and one another. 

What Counts as Learning: Open Digital Badges for New Opportunities is an early response to designing badge systems grounded in actual practice and is based on the lessons learned from the 30 Badges for Lifelong Learning projects. It provides a building block for anyone interested in designing open digital badge systems, and also for educators, policymakers, technologists, humanists, scholars, and administrators who have a stake in how badge systems might impact learning, assessment, and opportunities for lifelong learners.













Digital Badges Collection

A collection of content and resources on digital badges curated across the web for




Digital Badges: An Annotated Research Bibliography v1

This annotated bibliography is a first step toward organizing literature about digital badges, open badges and badge systems.



Digital Badges Webinars

Watch interactive webinars with grantees discussing effective badge design and development for lifelong learning, plus motivation, the OBI, assessment, and more.



Badge Communities

Open Badges 

Badge Alliance


DML 4: Badges for Lifelong Learning Competition 


The Badges for Lifelong Learning Competition was supported by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, with additional support from the Gates Foundation and in partnership with Mozilla.  The Competition is administered by co-located HASTAC teams based at the University of California Humanities Research Institute and John Hope Franklin Humanities Institute at Duke University.   

The fourth HASTAC/MacArthur Foundation Digital Media and Learning Competition provided up to $2 million in grants for 30 innovative badge systems as part of the Badges for Lifelong Learning Competition. Click the titles below to learn more about each funded project or read What Counts as Learning: Open Digital Badges for New Opportunities to read an analysis of the lessons learned across all 30 badge systems.