Open Badges and Open Pathways in HigherEd

  • Time: 16h00-16h30
  • Location: Breakout 2
  • Level: Intermediate
  • Type: Keynote

Open Badges and Open Pathways in HigherEd

Wouldn’t it be great if students could work on real, authentic and often wicked problems that are based on the needs of the community or stakeholders in the city where they study? Wouldn’t it be wonderful if a city could become a part of their learning trajectory to become young professionals? Wouldn’t it be amazing if students could get a more tangible insights in their acquired skills and competencies?

Artevelde University College (AUC) thinks it would be and developed a Cities for Learning project named Gentlestudent maps and creates an overview of where in the city of Ghent students can work, outside of the brick and mortar school, on the development of their 21st century skills in authentic contexts. These informal learning opportunities are categorized according to five 21st century skills: (1) digital literacy, (2) sustainability, (3) Global citizenship, (4) Entrepreneurial spirit and (5) research skills. Students are, once they completed a challenge or learning opportunity, recognized on their acquired skills via the use of Open Badges that are illustrating certain levels of these 21st century skills. Open Badges visualize skills, competencies and talents a student worked on while completing the challenge. Via Gentlestudent students from AUC are able to create a BadgePack illustrating their personalized pathway towards lifelong learning and development.

AUC also wants to bridge the gap between formal and informal learning using Open Badges and Open Pathways creating more flexible, personalized and insightful learning trajectories for students. In the programme of the Bachelor of Science in Nursing the programme specific learning outcomes, whom are aligned with the 21st century skills, were made more granular via the design of specific criteria and learning objectives as metadata for a set of programme specific Open Badges that are aligned with the ECTS. Open Badges are currently being awarded to students in an Open Pathway based on the pass or fail of a certain module enabling a dynamic overview of their overall achievements so far. For one of the learning outcomes they even make the decision themselves (together with their coach) on where they place themselves in the learning process of that outcome stimulating students to ‘claim’ their badge(s).

These Open Badges and Open Pathways not only visualize the personal learning process of a student, but it also functions as an instrument for coaches to enable a meaningful conversation about the learning process of a student.



Dries works as an educational developer and is involved in interdisciplinary innovative projects such as the co-creation of study materials via open source technologies, blended learning, the Next Generation Digital Learning Environment and virtual reality. Currently Dries is also working on the integration of beacon technology and gamification in smart cities, using Open Badges to recognize informal learning.


Educational developer

Artevelde University-College



There is no cure for Evelien’s curiosity in the field of educational development. She’s somehow always looking into aspects such as blended learning, gamification, instructional design and coaching in higher education. Currently she is mostly engaged in the co-creation of the new curriculum of the BSc in Nursing. One of het projects now is to visualise students’ learning trajectories through Open Pathways to trigger conversations about their individual progress.


Educational and curriculum developer

Artevelde University College

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