Edubadges: national approach to badges in education

An increasing number of educational institutions worldwide are gaining experience with open badges: digital certificates that show that the owner has certain skills or knowledge. In the Netherlands, SURF is developing an infrastructure with which Dutch educational institutions can issue edubadges. In this way, we support the flexible education.

Voorbeelden edubadges

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Edubadges: tool for flexible education

An increasing number of students have − whether previously or elsewhere − acquired skills and knowledge relevant to their study, and they wish to receive recognition or exemption for this in their study programme. A number of institutions are looking into the possibility of providing courses in accredited units that are smaller than a diploma (micro-credentials). Digital badges are the tools to achieve this. As these badges are issued in an educational context, they are called 'edubadges'.

Edubadges: a unique national approach

In 2016, SURF started exploring the possibilities that open badges can offer to Dutch higher education, and how they could benefit most at the national level. In the US, for example, badges are available in various forms, on various platforms and from various providers, but the Dutch institutions have explicitly opted for a national approach in collaboration with SURF. With this approach, the Netherlands is one of the pioneers in the world.

Why a national approach can contribute to a successful introduction of edubadges

Download 7 arguments for a national approach

What does SURF want to achieve?

A pilot involving 17 higher education institutions is now underway. In this project, the institutions can issue edu badges within an infrastructure that SURF has developed for this. At the end of the pilot, SURF and the affiliated institutions will decide on the start of structural provision of services for edubadges. The ambition is to make them available to all affiliated institutions in the second half of 2020.

Pilot with institutions

In 2019, 17 universities, colleges and MBO institutions are gaining initial experience with edubadges in a pilot, in close collaboration with SURF. The institutions are thereby working on their own edubadge strategy, on arranging the roles and rights, and on the external design of edubadges. SURF is working on making the infrastructure robust, on technical integration with learning management systems (among others), on making their own look and feel possible for each participating institution, and on the metadata formats.

Cooperation with the Flexibilization Acceleration Zone

SURF is coordinating with the Flexibilization Acceleration Zone. This is a part of the national Acceleration Plan, in which 40 university colleges and universities are working together to strengthen the quality of education and the international position of higher education. The Flexibilization Acceleration Zone is working on a more flexible education system, among other things by supporting a more modular design. Edubadges can be used as microcredentials to certify knowledge and skills in units smaller than diplomas.

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