Glossary of Terms

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An Open Badge can optionally align to educational or other standards, in which case the badge metadata will include the name, a URL and a description representing the standard. The alignment information may be relevant to people viewing an earner's awarded badges, or to a potential earner deciding whether to apply for the badge.


Assertions are representations of an awarded badge, used to share information about a badge belonging to one earner. Assertions are packaged for transmission as JSON objects with a set of mandatory and optional properties
More on assertion
An assertion is a JSON-structured representation of the data for a specific badge that has been awarded. An assertion represents a single badge awarded to a single earner - it includes information about:
  • Who earned the badge
  • What the badge represents
  • Who issued the badge
  • The assertion for a badge includes various data items required by the Open Badges Specification.
Required data items in an assertion include:
  • A unique ID
  • The recipient
  • The badge URL
  • Verification data
  • The issue date
  • Assertions can optionally also include:
    • The badge image (with assertion data baked into it)
    • An evidence URL
    • An expiry date
  • An assertion can be stored in a hosted file or a JSON Web signature
  • See the current assertion specification for full details.


Assessment in a badging system can involve various optional stages. For example, a badge issuer can present badges that are available for earning, capturing earner applications via the issuer website. The earners can submit evidence in support of their applications, which the issuer will then review, comparing the evidence to the badge criteria (which is defined when the badge is created). If an application for a badge is successful, the issuer may then award it to the earner, creating an assertion and typically contacting the earner.
This is only an example of what an assessment process might look like in a badging system, but the issuer is free to choose a method that suits their community of earners.


A non-technical term for issuing digital credentials/badges to recipients. It can also be used as a noun, i.e. share your digital award.
Alternatives include: present, confer, grant.


A backpack stores badge award data on behalf of recipients, making it possible for those recipients to organize and manage the badges they have earned. Backpacks may allow sharing to social media sites as a means of transmitting information about the achievements that a learner has gained.
Example: The Badgr Backpack.

Backpack Connect

Badge Connect API, released as Open Badges 2.1 brings the concept of a Federated backpack to the Open Badges ecosystem. The Badge Connect API addition to Open Badges allows badge recipients to easily move their Assertions between platforms to streamline the experience of earning and using Open Badges.


The term “badge” is typically used as shorthand to mean “Digital Badge”, “Micro-credential”, or “digital certification/credential”. However, when the term “badge” is sometimes used deliberately in reference to a “lower stakes” digital award that may be used to motivate recipients rather than recognize them in a more formal way. Badges can represent competencies and involvements recognized in online or offline life. Each badge is associated with an image and some metadata. The metadata provides information about what the badge represents and the evidence used to support it.
More on Badge
Earners can display their badges online and can share badge information through social networks. Issuers define badges and award them to earners.


A badge class is a definition of an earnable badge, which may potentially be awarded to one or more earners. Badge issuers define each badge class using a JSON file - in which the fields describe what the badge represents. A badge class includes a link to the issuer organization JSON for the badge. Each time a badge is awarded to an earner, the badge issuer creates a badge assertion which includes a link to the badge class. There are three core data classes associated with the Open Badge Specification: Assertions,
BadgeClasses, and Profiles. A set of one expression from each of these categories may be constructed into a valid Open Badge.
More on BadgeClass
Each data class is a collection of properties and values, and each defines which are mandatory and optional as well as the restrictions on the values those properties may take. They are published as JSON-LD for interoperability. If properties are included in JSON that cannot be mapped to JSON-LD terms defined in the object’s @context, they are not considered part of the badge object’s meaning.


Badgr is a suite of digital credentialing tools used to create, award, and store digital badges (also called micro-credentials, digital credentials, etc).
Visit for information on this solution.

Bake, Baking, Baked Badge

Badge baking is the process of embedding assertion data into a badge image. The Badgr Backpack includes a tool for baking badges.

Claim code (QR Code)

A code created by an issuer and given to an earner when they earn a badge. The earner can take the code and claim the badge associated with that code.
More on Claim code
Claim codes can be unique to the earner or multi-use, in which case many different earners can use a code to claim the same badge.

Collect, Collection

Earners can collect awarded badges and display them in backpacks. In the Badgr backpack,, earners can group badges into collections, deciding whether each collection is publicly discoverable. If a badge collection is designated as public by the earner, displayers will be able to retrieve the badges within it, given the earner email address.


Many digital badges and micro-credentials recognize discrete, often research-backed competencies. One way of thinking about competency is by considering the “What” of the digital badge or “What is the learner demonstrating?” The competency is usually stored in the “description” property of the JSON schema.


Competency-based digital badges or credentials are generally considered “higher stakes” credentials in that the award is contingent on the demonstration of stated competencies. Many competencies are supported by industry research.


The consumer is someone viewing a badge awarded to an earner. Examples could include colleagues, peers, and potential employers.


A definition of the requirements for earning a badge. In a badgeclass, the criteria is included as a URL.


Badges are accompanied by descriptions when they are listed, shared and displayed. Each badge can include a short tag-line, a description for earners and one for consumers.

Digital Credential

This term is often used interchangeably with “digital badge” and “micro-credential. However, the term “credential” is often used to imply alignment with a particular, industry-aligned credentialing framework, learning outcome or certifying organization.
Example: The Digital Promise Micro-credential Framework.
Digital credential framework
Many digital credentials are supported by discrete frameworks, which have been aligned to the open badges specification. Many of these digital credential frameworks are based on industry standards or
research-backed practices.
More on framework
Generally, these frameworks are developed by content/domain experts who have developed the content or coursework culminating in digital credential awards. For example, the Digital Promise micro-credential framework consists of a competency, key method, method components, research and resources, and evidence section (submission guidelines and evaluation criteria).


A badge displayer accesses badges that are publicly available and displays them in an online context. The process involves verification.


An individual who has met the necessary requirements to earn a badge, micro-credential, or other digital Badgr. Badges are awarded by issuing organizations or individuals, also referred to as issuers.


Digital badge applications sometimes require the pursuant to collect and submit evidence before their competence can be assessed and the digital badge/credential awarded. Evidence refers to submitted proof that an earner meets the criteria for a badge they are applying for. It can be a link to text, images, and other media.
More on Evidence
In many cases, the evidence is assessed by a content expert affiliated with the issuing organization. The award pursuant may receive their award after the assessment, or they may receive tailored feedback from the issuing organization. For more on assessment, see assessment.


A badge assertion includes information about the identity of the earner. This information typically comprises the earner email address. Badge displayers can check earner email addresses against the assertion email to verify that a badge was awarded to the person claiming it.

Issue (See also: Award)

Connect a badge to a person - technically this is the act of awarding the badge to the earner. This may happen when an earner makes a successful badge application. Badges can also be issued by submitting claim codes, or directly by the issuer to the earner email address.


Person or organization who creates/ offers badges and issues them to earners. Issuers can be individuals or organizations.


JSON (JavaScript Object Notation) is a lightweight data-interchange format. It’s easy for humans to read and write and it’s easy for machines to parse and generate.

Key Method

Some digital credentials include a key method section of their framework and is the means by which (or methodology) an award pursuant demonstrates their competence.
More on Key Methods
Generally, the key method can be referred to as the “How” of a micro-credential or digital badge. In other words, “How will the award pursuant demonstrate the competency in question?”


a set of data that describes and gives information about other data. In many cases, when the word Metadata is used within the context of digital badging/credentialing, it is in reference to the data that combines with the badge image (the BadgeClass) to produce a digital credential. Includes name, description, and links to other important details like the badge's criteria, evidence, and issuer information. The metadata for an awarded badge is defined in a badge assertion.


Micro-credential is one of many interchangeable terms used to describe digital credentials/badges. Often micro-credentials are “higher stakes” in the sense that they usually conform to a specific framework and are recognized by traditional credentialing organizations or certifying bodies.


Micro-credentials and digital credentials/badges are usually provided through the web, therefore they are available to an award pursuant so long as the website/platform is available and they are connected to the internet.

Open Badges Displayer

A badge displayer accesses badges that are publicly available and displays them in an online context.

Open Badges Specification

The Open Badge specification is a way of organizing badge data resulting in the badge being open and interoperable. Any digital badge/credential that is “Open Badges Compliant” (conforms to the Specification) can be transferred to any other system that recognizes and implements this specification.


Each micro-credential/digital badge award contains metadata aligning with the recipients' submission data. This data may include links to evidence, the recipients' email, the date the badge was awarded, and more.


Micro-credentials and other digital badges/credentials contain structured data, therefore any system designed to recognize this (open source) data structure can store and display micro-credential data. Micro-credentials can also be verified by any online source, as the code associated with performing that task is also open source.


A Profile is a collection of information that describes the entity or organization using Open Badges.
More on profile(s)
Issuers must be represented as Profiles, and recipients, endorsers, or other entities may also be represented using this vocabulary. Each Profile that represents an Issuer may be referenced in many BadgeClasses that it has defined. Anyone can create and host an Issuer file to start issuing Open Badges. Issuers may also serve as recipients of Open Badges, often identified within an Assertion by specific properties, like their URL or contact email address. An Issuer Profile is a subclass of the general Profile with some additional requirements.

Property (as it relates to Badgeclass)

Properties are fields within the badgeClass, they define specific types of data as key/value pairs.
 Example: the “name” property may refer to the “Micro-credential Title” within the BadgeClass data set.

Public Badge

A public badge is a badge an earner has placed in a collection that they have designated as public. If a displayer has access to the earner's email address, they can retrieve the earner's public badges from their Badgr Backpack.


Many digital credentials/badges require demonstrations of competence, in which case there is usually industry-supported research to substantiate this skill or competency.


A badge issuer can decide to revoke a badge they issued. Badge displayers are required not to display badges that have been revoked. Badge revocation is different for signed and hosted badges.
See IMS Global’s website for examples of revocation


A tool used to assess badge criteria in a standardized way. Aids consistency in a review. It can also be used to check evidence to see if it meets badge criteria (if the badge requires evidence).

Share, Shareable

Each awarded micro-credential or digital badge/credential can be shared digitally. For example, badge earners can share awards from their backpack to social media, an email address, or many other ways.
More on shareable
The Badgr platform provides digital badge recipients with the ability to share their awards through social networks, including LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and via email.

Validate, Validator

Issuers and displayers can use the validator to check badge assertions for structural validity. Validation is a procedure that ensures a cluster of Badge Objects that make up an Open Badge are appropriately published and linked, and that each particular instance of a Badge Object conforms to requirements for its class.
Validation of all data class instances used in an Open Badge is a part of badge verification.
Example: is the native open badges validator for many systems.


Any digital credential/badge in line with the open badges specification can be verified natively through an open badges validator.

Verify, Verification

Instructions for third parties to verify the assertion. Specifically, confirmation that a specific badge was awarded by the issuer to a specific person. Badge displayers are responsible for verifying issued badges using badge assertion data. Badge verification can involve a series of steps tailored to whether the badge is hosted or signed - guidance is available in the specification.
More on Verification
Verification is the process of ensuring the data that makes up an Open Badge is correct for the purpose at hand. It includes a number of data validation checks as well as procedures to ensure the badge is trustworthy. Verification is distinct from Compliance Certification for applications and services that implement the Specification, though verification is typically a component of certification programs.