Support to Write Badges
New to writing badges or need a refresher? Scroll to see our complete list of badge writing FAQs and support guides, or filter by category with the buttons below. If you have questions or need help, don’t be stuck! Get in touch with our friendly team.
It can be tricky to know where to start when writing badges for the first time. Our Badge Planning Document asks some simple questions to point you in the right direction with starting your badge offer.
A huge range of badges for a myriad of activities have already been published, so when writing a new badge, it can help to view existing badges for similar activities.
Why reinvent the wheel? We consider all Badge Nation badges to be open source, and always welcome you to copy or adapt any descriptions and earning criteria from existing badges that you might like to incorporate into yours.
Searching for badges is made easy using the ‘Discover’ page on Navigatr, simply:
Click the button below to visit.
Filter your search to show ‘Badges’.
Enter a keyword in the text box, for example, ‘volunteering’ or ‘workshop’.
Check out available badges now and find some badge-spiration!
A brief summary of our Quality Assurance and Publishing process can be found here.
General spelling, grammar, readability and conventions
We will check for any typos or sentence structures that don’t fit with our usual conventions, or where large criteria would be better understood if split down.
We will amend typos and easily corrected deviation from our badge writing conventions as part of the process.
Skills tags are important ingredients in a badge. We will check that the skills tags you have supplied are properly evidenced in your earning criteria.
It is best practice to keep these tags as streamlined as possible, so we may remove duplicates, similarly named tags that cover the same skill, or skills that aren’t referenced in earning criteria.
‘The Stranger Test’
We will check that the title, description, and earning criteria are easily understood by someone that is unfamiliar with your organisation or the activities described in your badge. This is extremely important to support your earners to get the best use out of their badges when explaining their skills and experience, and also for potential employers that could be viewing digital badges in their recruitment process.
We may get in touch with you at this stage if we believe your badge does not pass The Stranger Test and would benefit from additional information or clarification.
Mapping to the Cities of Learning Badge Standard
All Badge Nation badges are quality assured against this standard. We will check that the criteria you’ve supplied properly aligns with the layer of the standard that you have selected (Engage, Participate, Demonstrate or Lead).
We may get in touch with you at this stage if we believe your badge might be better suited to a different layer of the Badge Standard.
We only commence quality assurance on new badges once we have a completed Membership Agreement for your organisation, and the badge has been submitted in ‘final draft’ using the Google form.
- Check your saved edit link for the badge, if it is still ‘in draft’, please change this to ‘final draft’ so that we know you are finished making changes and ready for us to commence quality assurance.
- Check with your organisation about whether a Membership Agreement has been completed. If one has not been completed and you have authorisation to do so, please complete a Membership Agreement on our website.
- If we have a Membership Agreement for your organisation and your badge was submitted in final draft – it may be that your badge required some work as part of the quality assurance process and we have tried to contact you via email. Please check your inbox and junk folders for any correspondence from us.
We carry out quality assurance and publishing for new badges every Friday. If it has been more than two Fridays since you submitted your badge and you have yet to hear from us, please contact us at [email protected]
All Badge Nation badges are quality assured to the Cities of Learning Badge Standard which is endorsed by City and Guilds. This standard captures the kind of activity your earners are undertaking, and how they are using their new skills.
Mapping to the right layer of the Badge Standard is important when writing badges, and is often a cause for discussion during the Quality Assurance process. You may find that all of your badges map to one layer of the standard, or that your badge offer charts a pathway through the standard – both are absolutely fine so long as each badge is mapped to the appropriate layer.
Please see below for our quick guide to the four layers of the badge standard.
Earners have gathered information and experienced a topic. These are light-touch badges to recognise when an earner has shown up and expressed an interest, but perhaps hasn’t had to partake in interactive activities. Examples of activities that fall under the ‘Engage’ layer are:
- Attending a webinar, exhibition or open day.
- Enrolling on a programme.
Earners have interacted with learning and joined in. These badges are perfect for any kind of classroom or workshop-based activity, where the earner has learnt about new skills, how they can be applied, and had a go at using them, but perhaps hasn’t had an opportunity to use them in a real-world situation. Examples of activities that fall under the ‘Participate’ layer are:
- Participating in an interactive workshop.
- Completing a course, programme, club, or training.
- Taking an active role in their participation other than just ‘showing up’, e.g. they have produced a piece of work at the end of the activity.
Earners have applied skills in a real-world environment to gain experience, and receive and action feedback on their performance. These badges are perfect to recognise activities in which the earner has gone out into the world and applied their knowledge and skills to situations. Examples of activities that fall under the ‘Demonstrate’ layer are:
- Teaching skills or new information to others.
- Completing volunteering for an event or ongoing role.
- Completing work experience or a placement.
- Fulfilling required duties of a job role.
- Planning and delivery of a project, event or activity.
Earners have embedded knowledge in different context to inspire and influence others. This is the ultimate recognition in the Badge Standard, and is a great tool for earners that have gone above and beyond the requirements of their role. Examples of activities that fall under the ‘Lead’ layer are:
- Acting as an ambassador for a charity or organisation.
- Advocating on behalf of others in a way that is beyond the scope of their usual role / job.
- Setting up a new initiative to bring awareness or action to a particular area of need.
- Completing an intensive leadership programme in which they have applied their learning to respond to a particular area of need, and produced awareness / action.
‘The Stranger Test’ is a simple element of the Quality Assurance process in which we check that the information you are submitting for your badge is easily understood by someone that is unfamiliar with your organisation or activities.
If your badge is too vague, doesn’t explain what an individual has done to earn the badge, or is difficult to understand, it might not pass The Stranger Test and we will be in touch to gather additional information.
Example of earning criteria that wouldn’t pass The Stranger Test:
- Earner has participated in a gardening course.
- Earner has completed all tasks of the course.
- Earner has learnt about plant care.
How these could be updated to pass The Stranger Test:
- Earner has participated in a 2 day course to increase their knowledge of horticulture and develop skills in gardening. By completing this course, earner has engaged with both in-person workshops and online self-study, demonstrating their active learning skills.
- Earner has successfully passed an informal quiz to identify common garden plants, and has developed awareness of online identifying tools such as LeafSnap.
- Earner has demonstrated an understanding of trusted websites they can use to research the care requirements of their garden plants, such as the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS).
We recommend writing a minimum of two earning criteria per badge but the more detail you can provide, the better. Never be afraid of a meaty criteria section, it will make the badge all the more useful to your earners when they use their digital badges to highlight their experience and write CVs or apply for opportunities!
Skills tags are an important ingredient in a digital badge. They link badges to live labour market information, pull into pathways, and support earners to identify their transferrable skills when seeking future opportunities.
We recommend using the Navigatr Skills Scanner powered by Lightcast to produce tags for your badge, but we also offer the option of entering tags that aren’t generated using the scanner.
If you have used the Skills Scanner to generate skills tags but find yourself wanting to add extras that you feel are an important, you will need to make sure these are properly referenced to avoid them being removed as part of our Quality Assurance process.
An easy tip for this is to start with your list of additional tags and create accompanying earning criteria exploring these skills, for example, if your list of additional tags is:
Presentation, Communication, Information, Professionalism, Research, Collaboration, Teamwork, Ambassador
Your new earning criteria could be:
- “Earner has demonstrated excellent presentation and communication skills by interacting with people to provide information on XX.”
- “Earner has demonstrated professionalism and expertise in their given field by participating in XX.”
- “Earner has undertaken research to provide the most up-to-date advice and guidance to XX.”
- “Earner has supported the aims and outcomes of XX through collaboration with XX, demonstrating excellent teamwork throughout.”
- “Earner has acted as a positive ambassador for XX.”
To provide you with as much flexibility as possible when writing your badges, we offer you two different options for submitting the Google form:
In Draft – I am still working on my badge and will revisit it to make changes.
Submitting in draft is useful if you are working on a badge collaboratively with other team members, or where you haven’t had chance to finish writing your badge and need to revisit it later. Selecting this option indicates to us that your badge is not yet finished, and you are not ready for us to begin quality assurance.
Final draft – I have finished working on my badge and it is ready for quality assurance.
By selecting ‘final draft’, you are flagging on our system that you or your team do not plan any further work to this badge, and you are ready for us to proceed with quality assurance.
When you click ‘Submit’ on our Google Form, you will be sent an automated email from Google with a copy of your responses.
If you aren’t quite finished working on your badge, need to share the edit link with your team, or would like to change your response later, please locate this email and click ‘Edit your response’ to be brought back to the form with an editable view of your submission. You can then save that URL to use as many times as you need before submitting your badge in ‘Final Draft’. You can also share this URL with any team members that also need to edit the badge.
Please note – the automated email may have been delivered to the junk folder of your email address, so be sure to check there if it hasn’t landed in your inbox.
Lots of Badge Nation badges recognise activities and programmes that are partnered with, or funded by, other organisations to the issuer writing the badge.
This handy guide covers some of the different ways you can feature this information while writing your badge.
Once your badge has been published you will need a member of the Badge Nation team to make any changes, so it is important you are happy with your badge before you submit it in ‘Final Draft’.
Please note, any amendments made to the template will also appear on the profiles of earners who have already been issued with that badge, so you should only consider making changes that will remain relevant for previous earners of that badge.
If the changes you need to make are more drastic such as a change in the activity name, delivery / assessment method, outcomes, or content, please consider writing a new badge.
Contact us via email at [email protected] with a link to the badge and details of your desired changes and we will get these amended as soon as possible.