Badge Backpack


The term badge backpack is the original descriptor of Open Badges services that include badge importing, aggregation, and hosting. Also referred to as wallets, passports, and portfolios, badge backpacks help to organize items like badges and credentials for recipients. Recipients earn and are awarded competencies or credentials after completing a course of study, passing an assessment, or meeting specified requirements. These official documents need to be tracked and organized, in order to be useful to the recipients. Badge backpacks demonstrate qualifications or competencies issued by a third party with relevant authority.

The most common types of credentials awarded in the learn-and-work ecosystem include but are not limited to degrees, academic diplomas, licenses, certificates, security clearances, identification documents, professional and industry certifications, and badges. Badges use digital technologies to show learning achievements, and open badges use standards that support portability and ecosystem connections.

Badges can be created or awarded by employers, education institutions, or other organizations. Badge criteria are publicly viewable, embedded in the badge, and also verifiable. Badges are flexible, and can expire or be revoked. 

Ecosystem Relationship

Badge backpacks relate to documented awards by responsible and authorized bodies that demonstrate that an individual has achieved certain learning outcomes or knowledge levels. Badges are used to represent competencies as well as show linked experiences and learning. Badges are often used in conjunction with modular learning, degree pathways, and other credentialing. Badges can represent credentialing. Because of these reasons, badges and badge backpacks fall under the umbrellas of verification, standards, and data.


  • 1EdTech Open Badges Standard: In 2018, Open Badges Specification 2.0 was finalized and publicly released. Open Badges 2.0 provided features such as endorsements, internationalization, and multi-lingual capabilities, versioning, improvements for accessibility, and full adoption of JSON-LD. As of 2018, 24.1 million Open Badges has been issued to date, per 1EdTech. In 2020, Open Badges 2.1 was released. OB 2.1, often referred to as the Badge Connect™ API, added a REST-based API to Open Badges 2.0 and fully inherited the OB 2.0 data model.
  • 1EdTech reported in 2020 that over 20 platforms attained 1EdTech certification for adoption of the Open Badges standard.
  • The International Council on Badges and Credentials (ICoBC) is a network of educational, corporate, association, and government organizations with a goal to develop and facilitate best practices on badges and credentials regionally and globally.

Alternative Terminology

See Also

  • A digital badge (aka e-badge) is a digital representation of individuals’ achievements, consisting of an image and metadata uniquely linked to the individual’s skills. Digital badges have an issuer (institution that testifies), an earner (learner), and a displayer (site that houses the badge). Badges can be displayed, accessed, and verified online.
  • Portability refers to credentials, certifications, or badges having value locally, nationally and even internationally. This value is represented in contexts such as labor markets and education systems. The recipient's credentials, certifications, or badges are usable in a variety of environments and contexts, meaning the recipient can move vertically or horizontally within the ecosystem.


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