Towards a repository of ‘open’ Open Badges around employability 


This morning I was talking with Bryan Mathers who I find a wonderful thought partner. As usual, we sparked ideas off each other via until we ended up in an unexpected, obvious, under-explored space.

I’ve been doing some work recently for a client around employability. As with the web literacy work I did at Mozilla, this is largely an exercise in consensus-building. With my doctoral thesis I found as many definitions of ‘digital literacy’ as there are researchers in the field. The same is true of employability.

The difference with employability is that it’s meant to be a discrete set of ‘skills’ (although I prefer to talk about ‘behaviours’ or ‘habits of mind’) that people need these days to get, and hold down, a job.* Of course that leads very nicely to Open Badges.

Five years in, we’re still in the relatively early days of badges. As I’ve said many times before, I see this as a 10-year journey (and I’m in it for the long haul) so some of the things that are likely to happen need to be planned for rather than reacted to. One, for example, is an organisation or individual copying the metadata and visual image from one badge system and issuing it themselves. This is all perfectly possible using open licenses.

For something like employability or new literacies, having a reference badge system is a great way to get started quickly and easily doing the important work of building capacity. To that end, Bryan and I thought about setting up a GitHub repository that would include everything you need to start issuing a whole range of badges around employability. Our ‘payment’ (we’d probably do this through would be in the form of attribution and lead-generation for future work.

So the repository contains the metadata required for badges both in plaintext and JSON format, along with an SVG and PNG image for the visual image. GitHub allows you to see the ‘diffs’ (i.e. differences between) various versions of SVGs according to this post.

Check out the repository here

Coincidentally, yesterday’s Badge Standard Working Group published a Creative Commons License Extension that makes all of this possible in a pretty easy and straightforward way. 

Watch this space! :) 

* I think there’s a whole series of posts to be written how the atomisation of society and neoliberal agenda has led to on-the-job training beind rolled back. This means that the kind of things you’d learn once employed are now expected before you even get to that stage. But, anyway…