Open Badges is a Mozilla project attempting to provide a standard way for anyone to award certifications to others, in a web way. I’ve been playing with P2PU, which is a beta platform for the badges. Here’s a quick roundup.
Currently the Webcraft course in P2PU includes badges. The creator of the course has created the badges (images, descriptions, functionality, where they plug into the course, and how they can be earned). Others can take the course (or the “challenges”) and receive badges. Here are the ways badges can be received that I’ve seen so far:
- completing something: You need to follow the rules of the badge provider, and once you’re done, the badge is yours. In P2PU’s case, this entails accepting a challenge and completing the required tasks. The system could theoretically do a lot of verification, including administering an online exam to test you, but in this case, it’s just a matter of checking boxes saying you’ve done the tasks. Although it’s good to remember that the badge provider can cancel out your badges if they later learn you’ve not followed the requirements.
- getting it from someone else: Others in same platform can decide to award you a badge if they think you’re worth it. Such badges could indicate that you helped others with their problems, or provided other additional value to others.
- applying for it: If you think you’ve earned something, you can apply for it. You give out your reasoning and wait for others to review your claim. The reviewers will also rate your application based on the criteria specified in the badge.
All in all, the functionality seems quite understandable. While P2PU still sufferent from a few UI snafus, the technology seems to be working and can certainly be represented in human-understandable terms to end-users, which is a critical requirement if this is to become mainstream in some distant future.