The good practice in a nutshell
Open badges are digital credentials that visually demonstrate the competencies or skills of the badge-holder in a specific field. The badges are a way of making visible and validating skills obtained specifically in an informal setting – for example, in liberal adult education or some other non-formal learning context, such as work, hobbies, or volunteering.
The use of open badges in Europe is spreading. More and more NGOs, companies, and education centres are opting to adopt open badges to showcase and recognise informal learning achievements. The badge can replace a certificate of participation.
In this training method, open badges make visible and validate the tutoring skills of peer‑group tutors. Badges are issued after completion of our peer tutor training and after tutoring of a group. The aim for the use of open badges was to enhance the employability of the peer-group tutors and support the recognition of their skills and to validate those skills.
The peer-group tutors can use the open badges to showcase their skills and work experience when applying for a job or an education place. The badges are digital but can be printed out. A written statement of the criteria for the issuing of the badge is included.
Developer or user
Trained peer-group tutors
Why it is needed
The working-life peer tutor training (or peer tutor training) developed in the Finnish Catch Up with Work project is non-formal training. A tool was needed to make the skills learned in the training visible and recognised and to enable the peer-group tutors to showcase their new skills.
For the organisation, the good practice requires:
- an account on an open badge Web-based platform. When you have the account, you can create and issue badges via the online platform – for example, Openbadgefactory.com. There is a fee for creating an account.
- a designer to create the look of the badge. There are many examples of designs on the platform Web site. The design can be very simple. Many organisations create series or ‘families’ of badges, connected to the same training or set of skills.
For the recipient of the badge, the good practice requires:
- an account with the platform. The recipient must register, but the use of the platform is free of charge. The users can share their badges via social media, such as LinkedIn.
- The new skills in tutoring and working life and the cultural awareness knowledge of the peer tutor are made visible and validated.
- The employer receives reliable documentation of the tutor’s skills when he or she is applying for a new job.
- The first open badge may motivate the peer-group tutors to tutor a group, to get another badge.
- The tutors are empowered by their new, validated skills.
‘Do’s and ‘don’t’s
- Issue the badges when the tutors graduate. This is acknowledgement and praise for the tutors for their dedication and work.
- Explain, with concrete examples, where the badges can be used. They are new to many people.
- Open badges are designed to be used as digital credentials for skills. However, the badge and the attached set of criteria can be printed out, if that’s more convenient for the user. We realised that the printed-out version is important also, since not everybody is comfortable with using online platforms.
Open badges are in international use. There are no obstacles to any organisation with regard to using them. They can be used to showcase and valorise a wide variety of skills obtained in a non-formal or informal setting.