Keep Badges Weird

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Keep Badges Weird signpost
CC BY-NC Bryan Mathers

Keep Badges Weird (KBW) is a community of practice. "People in this community are front line educators, programme designers and learner advocates. We are the people who are motivated and influential in getting organisations to start thinking about upskilling in a non-traditional way. This is a place in which contribution badges can recognise participation, creation, and reflection, as well as act as credentials."


  • Participation is free and accessed by joining the KBW Community of Practice on
  • KBW hosts a monthly Open Recognition call with participants from multiple continents.
  • Organic participation in the community includes discussion threads and resource sharing.
  • Many contributors to this resource are also KBW members.

Open Recognition principles

The KBW community aims to put Open Recognition principles into practice:

Open Recognition is the awareness and appreciation of talents, skills and aspirations in ways that go beyond credentialing. This includes recognising the rights of individuals, communities, and territories to apply their own labels and definitions. Their frameworks may be emergent and/or implicit.

The above definition references the Bologna Open Recognition Declaration (BORD), a shared ambition for an open architecture for the recognition of of lifelong and lifewide learning achievements. The BORD was published in 2016 by a coalition of learning stakeholders:

We are witnessing a growing awareness in large parts of the political, educational and employment sectors as well as in the public opinion, of the need to establish a more open, transparent, reliable and trustworthy approach to the recognition of learning achievements. Despite progress over the last few years, the recognition of learning remains patchy and uneven across countries and sectors.

The BORD recognises that there is not just one approach to Open Recognition. However, by setting a direction of travel, we can share some or all of the journey together towards a more open, inclusive and trustworthy world.

Supporting the BORD

Badge for BORD signatories
Bologna Open Recognition Declaration (BORD) signatories badge

The BORD contains three strategies, which the KBW aims to meet:

Open recognition for all

The KBW community and its activities are there to provide solidarity and touchpoints for badge champions and newbies. We do not assume prior knowledge of Open Badges or Verifiable Credentials, but we recognise and celebrate those who can share their experience.

Open recognition technologies and infrastructure

The KBW community aims to help people understand the badge landscape with resources and activities, such as community calls and our maintenance of We advise each other on technologies and infrastructure that may help with the widespread adoption of Open Recognition.

Open recognition policies

The KBW community uses open recognition with weird badges that are issued to community members who create value in our Community of Practice. This is to connect learning experiences wherever they may happen, providing a bridge between, for example, informal and formal learning - especially for socially excluded and disenfranchised groups.


One person giving another a badge. There is a shape around them that says 'credentialing' and another around that that says 'recognition'
CC BY-NC Bryan Mathers

The KBW community is particularly interested in the intersection of badges and Communities of Practice (CoP). This is a place in which contribution badges can recognise participation, creation, and reflection, as well as act as credentials. As such, we care about promoting:

  • working openly
  • sharing our plans and experiences
  • publishing our work under open licenses
  • working collaboratively between organisations
  • developing and reusing good practice

The community is bound by the Participate Code of Conduct and the WAO Code of Conduct.


There are a number of badges which can be earned through membership, participation, and interaction within the KBW community. In addition, there are stealth badges which are not listed anywhere, but which you may find on the profiles of community members!

A list of participation and course completion badges


KBW at Badge Summit 2022