How Badge Nation Works

Badge Nation is part of Real Ideas group and is a membership offer that supports organisations to start or improve their implementation of digital badging through scoping, badge writing, quality assurance, and customer support. 

Real Ideas took part in the Plymouth Cities of Learning pilot working with organisations to create and issue digital badges for young people. When the pilot ended, we couldn’t bear to stop badging, and Badge Nation was born. We believe any organisation can produce meaningful recognition through digital badges and it is our mission to support this. 

No, Badge Nation does not own an issuing platform. We provide impartial advice to find the best issuing platform for your organisation’s needs and then support you to use it. 

  • Badges recognise accomplishments and achievements that cannot be formally accredited, where experience outside of qualifications is highly valued and often not well documented.
  • No achievement is too small to be badged! Any accomplishment, however small, can be the start of a journey to a better future.
  • Badges provide the ultimate tool for providing verified employer references in an emerging freelance workforce.
  • Badges give earners the power and language to better tell their stories by clearly displaying the activities they have engaged with and transferrable skills gained along the way, in language that employers understand.
  • Badges support earners to use the experiences, skills, and competencies they have developed by working with your organisation to take positive steps in their own lives.

Depending on your organisation and the activity you deliver, there are several ways that badges can be beneficial: 

– View reports of how your badge collection is performing, such as how many badges you have issued, how many have been accepted, shared, etc.

Reporting & Outcome Tracking
– Every organisation has outcomes or markers that can be hard to measure and track. Badges give a quantifiable source of data for ‘soft outcomes’ such as increasing skills or wellbeing. 

Managing Staff & Internal Processes
– Earners don’t just have to be participants on programmes or customers of your activity! Rewarding staff achievements with digital badges makes a great record of the upskilling and progression of staff within the organisation.
– Badges are a brilliant way to reflect staff training, CPD courses and suitability for roles.  

– Recruiting the right people for any organisation requires a lot of time, care and effort. Badges are fantastic for getting a snapshot of a person’s experience and skills, and have the added bonus of showing what organisations have previously worked with them without the laborious requests for references. 

Grants & Funding
– Lots of organisations will utilise grants and funding at some point. Incorporating digital badges into delivery can make applications stand out by increasing the credibility of how you will be tracking, measuring and reporting on specific outcomes, as well as bringing structure to your activity.  

Attitudes & Movements
– Every organisation has key messages and attitudes that they want to develop in others. Digital badges are a brilliant way to recognise and encourage the change you want to see in the world. 

– You can get really creative with using badges as a marketing tool!
– Badges are created with your logo and branding, so are very personal to your organisation. Every time someone shares a badge they earned with you, it’s an advert.
– Because of the way badges are linked in-browser, people that click on your badges get a direct snapshot of the activity you deliver and the impact you’re creating.

Badges written by our members and published by us are not formally accredited. What they do offer is a way to recognise skills, achievements, learning, and experience for the amazing things individuals do outside of formal qualifications that might otherwise go unrecorded.

You can write a badge about anything and award it to anyone that has completed the earning criteria – this provides earners with a digital, traceable, and verified record of achievement alongside the credibility of your organisation.

Badge Nation membership supports organisations to write and issue digital badges.

While we do issue some badges for our activities, the majority of badges written and published through us are managed and issued by our member organisations, so we are not able to issue them to you.

If you are here as an individual looking for badges to earn, below are some platforms to try. If you see a badge you want to earn, we recommend you get in touch with the member organisation directly to enquire about earning their badges.

Ages 13+. Search for badges, activities, and badge pathways.
Find the issuer in the “Issued by” section of a badge.

My Skills Pass
Ages 18+. Search for badges, store your badges from multiple issuing platforms, create digital CVs, and network with other users.
Find the issuer under “How to get this badge”

Joining Badge Nation

We operate in a flexible, needs-based way to our pricing, and will never try to sell you a product or service that your organisation doesn’t need.
Whether you’re looking to start small, run a Digital Badge pilot, or create a badging ecosystem within a place- we’ve got the package for you!

Fantastic, we are so excited for you to join the movement!
To get started, book a free badge chat with us, where we can discuss your organisations needs and ambitions, and create a unique membership package for you.

We are an inclusive bunch here at Badge Nation and want to welcome everyone along with us on this journey of recognition and empowerment! Whether you are the smallest community group or a nation-spanning enterprise, we would love to hear from you.

Although our membership offer is for organisations, Badge Nation Membership is not limited to particular legal structures or sector types and you don’t need to be incorporated as a business to start a badge offer.

Your Badge Nation Membership can count for your whole organisation, no matter how big or small.  

However, if you’re part of a larger organisation that would benefit from badging different programmes and departments, there are membership options for this too.

Check out our packages to find one that is right for you.

Digital Badge Writing

Our interactive platform enables you to write new badges, supply branding preferences and get top badge writing tips. Every badge you write with us is quality assured by a member of our team with a human heart and mind – send and receive responsive quality assurance comments and get notifications at each stage of the process.

To write a new badge with us, you’ll need to use our interactive Badge Writing Form. This will provide us with all of the information we need to build your badge, and will enter your badge to our Quality Assurance (QA) pipeline.

Once your badge is ‘Submitted for Quality Assurance’, the QA process can begin and we will work on your badge to get it ready for publishing to your badge issuing platform of choice.

When all is good to go, we create visuals (or use your pre-generated badge visuals within the Badge Writing form) using your organisation’s branding and publish your badge.

Through loads of work and trial and error, we have made the badge writing process really simple, and provide regular free 1.5 hour workshops to get you writing your first badge. We also offer continued support and resource to make it as easy as possible for you, including step-by-step guides and how-to videos on our Knowledge Base

Writing a digital badge is easy. Writing a high-quality, consistent collection of badges that are valued by badge earners is harder.

Our Quality Assurance (QA) service ensures that each badge you write with us clearly represents your activities and has the potential to create a positive impact on your badge earners.

We want to help make your badges as good as they can be – every single badge submitted for QA is reviewed with the human heart and mind of a Badge Nation team member and is ensured to align with the RSA Badge Standard. This strengthens your badge offer and provides your earners with the tools, power, and language to articulate their experiences for future endeavours.

Find out more about our QA process

Issuing Digital Badges

We can facilitate a range of issuing platforms to best suit your organisation’s needs and budget – each of these platforms is web-based and accessible via internet browser. The platform your organisation chooses to utilise at the start of your badging journey is where you will go to issue badges. Please see our Badge Issuing Platforms page for more information.

The way that an earner accepts a digital badge can vary depending on the issuing platform used and the method of issuing. In all cases, earners receive an email when they are issued with a digital badge and following this, they can accept the badge (if required) and share their achievement.

Learning a new system can be daunting, which is why it’s always a huge relief to find out there are many options out there. Supporting you to find an issuing platform that works with your organisation’s processes and helping you to find the best way to use it is what we are all about, and we support you every step of the way with how-to guides and resources for using your chosen platform.

Our motto is “Don’t be stuck” – our friendly team is on hand to support you with any questions you have while learning a new platform and we can help you find the best issuing method for you.

Yes, each badge you write with us becomes a template that you can issue to multiple earners. In fact, one of our Golden Rules of Badge Writing is to create badges that you can use over and over again!

Issuers are responsible for obtaining and demonstrating their own lawful basis for processing the personal information of any earners they wish to issue badges to.

If the issuing activity is not covered by another lawful basis, the issuer must gain an earner’s consent before issuing them with badges.

Please see our Earner Personal Data, Consent, and GDPR for Issuing Digital Badges guide for more information.

Whether you can issue badges to children under the age of 13 depends on your ability to gain consent from a parent / guardian and which issuing platform you use.

Please see this guide for more information about issuing digital badges to children.

While we do recommend that issuing takes place directly to the earner wherever possible, there are lots of circumstances where earners cannot access an email address of their own. In these cases, it can make issuing badges difficult.

Please see this guide for more information on issuing badges to parents and guardians.

Badge Nation Jargon Buster

The Badge Zone is Badge Nations interactive, online badge writing platform, which allows you to create and share badges, have them quality assured by us, find step-by-step guides and resources, and access Customer Support- all from one place!

An Issuer is a Badge Nation member organisation that has joined Badge Nation and is currently issuing badges, or on their way to issuing badges within their collection.

An earner is any individual or organisation that has been issued with a digital badge.

A Badge Template is the information that makes up a Digital Badge, including the title, earning criteria, description, and any other important information that you may wish to include.

The Badge Standard is a simple framework against which all Badge Nation digital badges are quality assured. This standard provides structure to badge writing, making it easier to understand the activities people are doing, how they help, and where they could lead. There are four layers to this standard; Engage, Participate, Demonstrate and Lead.

Once you have submitted the required information for your Badge Templates, the Badge Nation team will review the criteria you have supplied and ensure you have mapped the activity to the correct layer of the Badge Standard. Should anything in your template require amending, the team will work with you to complete your badges before they are published to your badge issuing platform of choice

Metadata is the technical phrase used to describe the wording contained within a Digital Badge

An assertion is created when a Digital Badge is issued to an individual or organisation. Each assertion is individual and unique, and can be transferred between Open Badge Standard 2.0 compliant badge issuing platforms.

Badge Nation is a service here to support you to write high quality, meaningful Digital Badges. As we are not a badge issuing platform, we work and partner with reliable, Open Badge Standard 2.0 compliant platforms, and are on hand to support you to decide which platform will best suit your badging needs.