3 Ideas for Open Badging Pathway Design

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When implementing an open badging system at your organization, it is important to think about your badging program as a whole. How will you implement open badging? What kind of badges are you awarding? How often will you award badges? What the badges will demostrate (a competency, an assessment result, a project delivery)? May badge recipient bring in badges earned from other issuers? What are the current and future pathways or programs?

For pathway design, the purpose, structure and end-point are critical whether you are starting from scratch or mapping the badging program an existing system.


  • Guide decisions. Are you recognizing competencies or tracking progress thru curriculum? Is the pathway meant to be completed in full or to show specialization across a range of options?
  • Use community definitions. What are the values you want to recognize that are already accepted in your community?


  • Movement. How do you expect people to move through the pathway, leveling up or getting from point A to point B?
  • Customizable or prescribed. Is the learner allowed to pick and choose specializations or do they follow a path of prescribed objectives?

End-Point (Milestone)

  • Acceptance of external badges. Does the pathway recognize and/or incorporate badges earned from other or more than one issuer(s)?
  • Assessment. What are the assessment practices to required to implement recognition of badges for elements in the pathway?
  • Collection. Does the collection of badges clearly demonstrate the objectives of the pathway and is it understood by the community?