This post was authored by Nidhi Shandilya and originally appeared in the Microsoft Blog on April 14, 2020.
The ability to be recognized for our achievements is universal, whether they are big or small. If you’ve ever played a smartphone game or consider yourself a fitness enthusiast, you may have experienced the opportunity to earn badges that symbolize your achievements and growing skills. For example, those who walk 10,000 steps are celebrated with the “sneakers” digital badge from their Fitbit, while those who achieve a step count of 100,000 or more are adorned a much more rare, “Olympian Sandals” badge.
As more organizations adopt Microsoft Teams this year, the need arises to recognize students, employees, and frontline workers for their growing portfolio of demonstrated competence and professional accomplishments.
Today, we’re happy to share with you a new way to recognize and award open, publicly verifiable digital badges within the Teams interface – an Open Badges app template! As with all app templates, these are open-sourced Teams apps that are production-ready and can be deployed quickly as your organization’s internal line-of-business apps.
Using the Open Badges app template in Microsoft Teams, users can create and award badges to team members conveniently within the Teams’ context. Once awarded, recipients and other team members are notified about the awarded badge, and award details can be viewed by simply tagging the badge recipient within the channel conversation.
Additionally, all team members have the option to select badges from a complete list and award recognition to one another; team owners have the unique ability to create new badges.
The Open Badges app template has been built on top of Badgr’s robust achievement platform, which currently supports over 20,000 organizations around the world and their valuable communities of practice. Therefore, every badge awarded through the Open Badges App is more than a digital sticker; badges awarded through this exciting app are open, publicly-verifiable, and portable.
For example, in K-12 education – teachers may extrinsically motivate their students to excel by issuing badges within their communities in Teams for standard protocols such as classroom participation, attendance, or academic performance.
Today, we're happy to share with you a new way to recognize and award open, publicly verifiable #digitalbadges within the @MicrosoftTeams interface – an #OpenBadges app template! Read the blog post to learn more #microcredentials #distancelearning https://t.co/oKoug2Hcmi pic.twitter.com/jO63kQQt4l— Badgr Team (@BadgrTeam) April 27, 2020
In higher education, students may showcase these digital badges as verifiable credentials to their prospective employers. Similarly, faculty or members of school administration may compile these awards into a more actionable, skill-aligned portfolio for future employers, thereby leveraging the inherent portability of digital badges and their unique ability to illustrate a granular and personalized learning journey.
In corporate settings, the opportunity for private companies to recognize and capture micro-achievements (commonly referred to as the “skills gap”) can be addressed through the use of digital badges. For example, an employee who went over and beyond to deliver a superior customer experience can be spotted and celebrated. Or, a team member who helped their colleagues achieve more can be rewarded, sending necessary cultural signals throughout your organization.
This app template was an effort of collaboration between the Microsoft Teams Platform and the team at Badgr.
“We really enjoyed working with Microsoft to enable organizations to embed Badgr into Microsoft Teams. Teams is the perfect canvas for collaboration and engagement, and we’re excited to help connect it to the rapidly growing ecosystem of open badges and digital credentials.” - Wayne Skipper, Founder/CEO of Concentric Sky, the makers of Badgr