Building together a recognition society

Why do we believe in Open Recognition and Open Badges?

Why do we believe in Open Recognition and Open Badges?

A spot on answer to this question was given by no one else then Mehdi Gharsallah, Digital Strategy Advisor at the Ministry of Higher Education and Research in France. In his presentation on day 3 of the ePIC 2018 last week (24-26 October) in Paris he mentioned 3 main reasons:

  1. It is Open
  2. It lays on Platforms
  3. It is User centric

These 3 main reasons represent the essence of ePIC 2018 in just a few lines. The 3 days at the ePIC were a good mix of shared experiences and hands-on workshops at the Center for Research and Interdisciplinarity (CRI) in Paris. Interesting questions were discussed and worked on interactively, like Tell us how you recognize or How to Build on Open Recognition Systems? How to Build on Learning Territories or a Learning Society? Or: How to address the Trust Challenge to create Open Recognition systems. Many use cases were shared from an educational point of view, but also humanitarian (HPass), healthcare, transcultural (TransRECOland) and employment.  

It is Open

Ruben Verborgh shared his thoughts on how Open Badges as being Open linked data can be part of a greater network of social linked data. The inventor of the World Wide Web, Prof. Tim Berners-Lee is working on Solid, an exciting new project together with a great team of which Ruben is a member. It is taking place at the MIT. The project aims to radically change the way Web applications work today, resulting in true data ownership as well as improved privacy. So this is where Open Badges and Solid meet: open source, true data ownership and linked data.

A few sheets are highlighted here.

You can find the sheets of presentations here.

It lays on Platforms

Platforms for issuing open badges, like Badgr, Open Badge Factory, CanCred, Badgecraft and Bestr were also present at the ePIC. They underline the importance of having a place to issue, receive and share open badges. Two new innovations that could lead to a new form of platforms from Belgium were presented: bSkilled and Gentlestudent. Both are an offspring from Open Summer of Code (OSOC) projects last summer. Students worked in an interdisciplinair team together with sponsors and coaches from Open Knowledge Belgium.


bSkilled is focussing on peer endorsements based on the new OBI 2.0 specs. Use bSkilled and get acknowledged for your skills by letting your connections endorse and verify your qualities with Open Badges in an easy, reliable and standardized way.


Gentlestudent is an application that allows the user to ask students for help. With the application, anyone can issue a learning opportunity and students using the application can decide to help the issuer. After helping the issuer, the student gets a badge as a reward, which is a verifiable record of their learning. This way, Gentlestudent stimulates informal learning and teaches valuable lessons about community life and social engagement. With this the city can co-create being an authentic learning context. 

It is User centric

A User centric approach addresses the needs of users. But what are their needs? And how do get to know these needs? And not to forget: who are the users? Are they the issuers, recipients, consumers or all?

An important take away on the last day was to work more iterative. This remark refers to an User-Centered Design Process which is in general often overlooked when developing software, so also the Open Badges Infrastructure. And as said on the ePIC 2017: we need services build upon Open Badges and Open recognition. And based on the needs of our users.

In a workshop given by two MIRVA partners, Chiara Carlino and Dominic Orr we tried to understand how recognition processes operate and how to improve/open them. And with doing this we worked on finding our own needs and that of others to be recognized.

Questions were:

  1. How are your competences recognized in your own daily life?
  2. How do you recognize other people’s competences?
  3. From your list of examples, where do you think things could be improved? And who would be responsible for improving them (you, your company, your organisation, the government )?
  4. How could technology help in supporting your ideal scenario? What should you be able to do?

Workshop Tell us how you recognize

What is recognition?

The given answers during the workshop are now collected and summarized. This is very valuable for addressing how to make informal recognition visible and actionable and will be shared later on the MIRVA site. 

Open Recognition movement

This year marks a new step forward to the #OpenRecognition movement with:

  • a growing number of initiatives anchored in territories (Badgeons la Normandie, Badgeons Ie Centre Val de Loire, Badgeons Ie Pas de Calais, Badgeons l’Aquitaine);
  • greater participation by grassroots initiatives, associations and networks;
  • #OpenRecognition Week, an initiative aimed at remapping the world and build a World Wide Web of Trust (;
  • the introduction of bit of trust to explore new approaches that support more open, more democratie forms of recognition; and
  • the creation of Reconnaître – Open Recognition Alliance, a not-for-profit association dedicated to making Open Recognition a reality and the organiser of ePIC 2018.

Want to know more? See how visitors experienced the ePIC? Take a look at this playlist!

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