Documentation:OpenBadges/Faculty Guide/Web Design/Badge System Design

From UBC Wiki

Badge System Design

Developing a badge system for your course or program is a complex process, but there are some tips and resources to help you make some early decisions and set a good direction for your badge implementation. Mozilla's Erin Knight calls these the 3 T's of Badge System Design. They are:


These are the general categories or types of badges you will issue based on what sort of learning/ engagement you are aiming for. You'll need to decide on the types of badges you plan to issue. For example, badges may be earned for:

  • Participation - a fairly basic level of engagement with the learning environment. Logging in, solving a problem, commenting on posts.
  • Recognition - developing a particular skill or competency.
  • Achievement - an accomplishment like making something or successfully completing a project or quiz.
  • Contribution - Recognition of individual or group contributions that bring about a specific result or advancement
  • Certification - Confirmation of a set of characteristics confirmed through a set of combined criteria (e.g. education, experience, etc.)

The suggestion is to focus on, fairly broadly, the types of activities that you will be badging with some fairly light descriptions of each. You can delve deeper into the specifics as you move forward in the design process.


Touchpoints refer to your first considerations around criteria for the badge - what will learners need to do in order to get the badge? You may also want to consider how the badge will be awarded - which will help in determining technical considerations or working with constraints around badge issue. For example:

  • Participation badges will be earned for completing the login process - which will be automatically awarded and act as a motivator to learn more about earning badges.
  • Contribution badges will be earned by commenting and replying on blog posts
  • Skill badges will be earned by successfully completing quizzes.
  • Recognition badges will be earned through community vote on comments or producing creative content (multimedia).


Technology considerations will be fairly high level and will allow you to think through some basic requirements. Once you learn about what your constraints may be (with regard to the technology), you can go back and adjust the touchpoints or perhaps even badge types. Here are some examples:

  • Badges integrated into the course website - which uses a CWL login. What are the implications of using a CWL login?
  • Community will vote on best comment for recognition badge. What will be the trigger for badge issue - how many voters? What's a worthy star rating overall?
  • Submission form for multimedia - link to downloadable content.

The 3 T process can help you sketch out your badge system and act as a roadmap for your badge issuing. As you refine it and integrate it with your learning pathway, you end up with a solid plan for implementation.

Badge Value

As you are considering and working with your 3T badge design process, you will want to revisit the value proposition for your badges. After all, if they don't hold meaning to the badge earner, they will likely not hold value for the community. Consider:

  • Why would an earner want to earn the badge?
  • What is the value of the badge to the issuer?
  • Does the badge have value to a viewer of the badge?
  • Is there value for the badge to be endorsed by a partner (e.g. community, business, campus)?

More on the Value of a Badge.

The following simple design toolkits can be helpful in working through the process of badge design.