Open recognition

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See also Recognition

Person giving another person a credential, surrounded by recognition

What is Open Recognition?

The following definition from this blog post builds on the work of the Open Recognition Alliance, among others:

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.

Open Recognition practices often include Open Badges in a way that values all forms of learning and skills, regardless of where and how they were acquired. It is a movement and set of practices based on the idea that learning happens everywhere, not just in formal educational settings, and that we all have valuable skills and knowledge to offer. Open Recognition involves creating and using open standards and technologies to support the recognition and validation of skills and learning achievements.

The goal of Open Recognition is to create a more inclusive and equitable system of recognition, encouraging lifelong learning and creating more opportunities for people to learn and develop their skills throughout their lives.

What are some examples of Open Recognition?

Recognition is the subtext that gives meaning to credentials and so examples are many and varied. However, skill trees or pathways and Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) are both examples of ways in which people can be recognised in ways that value their prior experience.

Descriptive vs Prescriptive pathway

How do I get started with Open Recognition?

Open Recognition is for Everybody

Open Recognition is for Everybody (ORE) is a community focused on how recognition helps drive pro-social behaviours and empowers individuals and communities to represent themselves authentically and holistically.

The People in this community are front line educators, programme designers and learner advocates. They are the people who are motivated and influential in getting organisations to start thinking about upskilling and recognition 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.

You're welcome and encouraged to join!

Open Recognition Toolkit

The Open Recognition Toolkit (ORT) project is an ORE community project that aims to create a comprehensive handbook on Open Recognition. Inspired by the Credential as You Go playbooks, we want to develop a wide range of resources and practical guidelines. This initiative will empower individuals and organizations to understand and implement Open Recognition principles, fostering a culture of inclusivity and appreciation in various domains.

Open Recognition Alliance

WAO blog posts

Other resources

Posts by Serge Ravet

Posts by Doug Belshaw

Posts by Don Presant


A rich collection of Creative Commons-licensed images by Bryan Mathers of Visual Thinkery is available on the Open Recognition Images page.