Open Badges Hands On Session


Following the success of the DigiLit Leicester Open Badges Briefing in May, Lucy Atkins, our the projects Digital Literacy Research Associate, delivered a hands-on workshop at De Montfort University. The focus of the session was on the practicalities of designing and creating Open Badges. As with the previous meeting, attendees came from a mixture of schools, further and higher education institutions, along with staff from VESA and Leicestershire cares.

The session began with walkthroughs of free online tools that can be used to create Open Badges. Attendees were issued with a pack of resources as they arrived, which included step-by-step tutorials for each of the tools, and were given the opportunity to work through these at their own pace – with support and guidance where necessary.



The first step was to create a Backpack, where badges are stored once they are earned. This involved signing up for a Mozilla Persona account; which was also used for another tool later in the workshop. The walkthrough handout can be found here.



Next, attendees were introduced to the Open Badge Designer, a badge image creation tool created by MyKnowledgeMap. This user friendly design tool provides you with lots of choices (and the opportunity to upload your own images) in order to create the image of your Open Badge. A step-by-step guide to the designer tool can be found here.

badg (this site is no longer being maintained)


Finally, with their backpack and badge image at the ready, attendees created their own Open Badges. The tool uses the Mozilla Persona account to save the badges you create. This means that you don’t have to create a separate account from which to issue badges. Find out more about creating an Open Badge here.


Before beginning the main part of the workshop, people who had attended the previous briefing gave a short description of how badges might be deployed in their context. For example, South Leicestershire College are currently working on an employability passport – where learners gather employability skills throughout the year through different activities and experiences – and are interested to see how Open Badges may support this. Also, VESA currently work with schools to supply vocational taster sessions and would like to investigate how badges could be used to provide recognition for the completion of these courses.

Open Badges Canvas

The main activity of the workshop introduced the Open Badge Canvas from DigitalMe. This simple framework is a highly effective tool for sparking discussions around Open Badges and helping to structure the design process. Attendees worked in groups to discuss potential ways that Open Badges could be used across the city.

The canvas is broken up into four main sections:

  • Audience – who the badge is for
  • Components – what makes up the badge
  • Pathways – stand-alone or part of a larger eco system?
  • Resources – what will be needed to create the badge


The canvas also encourages thinking about the design and outward facing information of the badge (e.g. its name and description).


Each group had individual blank copies of the Canvas, alongside an annotated version, designed to provide prompts for each section – this version can be found here.

Next Steps

To close the session, the groups were asked to consider some final questions about Open Badges:

  • What did they wish to achieve?
  • When by?
  • What extra support would be needed?
  • Did they have any further questions or concerns?

Further Reading

Open Badges Briefing – This blog post summarises the introductory session, led by Doug Belshaw of Mozilla, which was held in Leicester in early May.

Open Badges Implementation FAQ – A good starting point for any further questions around issuing Open Badges, with links to more technical explanations where required.

Design Principles for Assessing Learning with Digital Badges – this is the second of four posts looking at trends in the issuing of Open Badges. This article has evaluated some of the leading Open Badge schemes and categorised the assessment practices demonstrated into a list of ten ‘appropriate practices’.