Getting Started With Open Badges and Open Microcredentials


  • Kyle Clements Western Governors University
  • Richard Edward West Brigham Young University
  • Enoch Hunsaker Brigham Young University



open badges, alternative credentials, microcredentials, open education, open credentials


This article is intended as a practical resource to help interested organizations design and implement an open badging system. Open badges are a type of open credential designed to recognize a variety of skills, knowledge, and experiences, both inside and outside of traditional educational settings. While growing in popularity, common questions asked by those interested in using open badges include: How do I get started? What technologies exist to produce open badges? And what do I need to know? This article seeks to address questions such as these. First, we introduce the reader to key terms in the badging world and explore open badge design precedents, responding to who, what, how, where, and why open badges have been used in the past. Drawing on this research as well as our own personal experience, we then present a possible framework for getting started with open badges and a step-by-step guide for implementing that framework within your organization.

Author Biographies

Kyle Clements, Western Governors University

Kyle Clements is a learning experience designer at Western Governors University. His research interests include lifelong learning, digital credentials, and usability. 

Richard Edward West, Brigham Young University

Richard E. West is an assistant professor in the Instructional Psychology and Technology department at Brigham Young University, where he teaches courses on instructional technology foundations, theories of creativity and innovation, technology integration for preservice teachers, and academic writing and argumentation. He researches the design, support, and evaluation of environments that foster collaborative innovation, as well as online learning communities and K-16 technology integration. His research is available through his profiles on Mendeley, Google Scholar, and his personal website (http://richardewest).

Enoch Hunsaker, Brigham Young University

Enoch Hunsaker is an instructional designer at Brigham Young University, where he specializes is designing blended and fully online university courses in the fields of Education, Computer Science, and the Humanities. He has previously published on topics such as online education, computational thinking, and open badges.



How to Cite

Clements, K., West, R. E., & Hunsaker, E. (2020). Getting Started With Open Badges and Open Microcredentials. The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 21(1), 154–172.



Notes From the Field