The objective of this document is to provide a conceptual framework for understanding what Open Badges are, where do they come from, what they could become in the future and how they relate to other concepts and initiatives. This framework does not pretend and does not intend to be neutral. It is designed within the perspective of building an open and inclusive society where the citizens are fully empowered to act and transform education and employment, rather than merely adapt to them. It is a framework for action, individual and collective.
The Open Badge Conceptual Framework is situated within a larger frame of reference that includes concepts, ideas and initiatives that, while not directly related to Open Badges, share a number of their characteristics (e.g. Open Data). It is also aimed at debunking some of the misconceptions associated with Open Badges, e.g. their relation to gamification or the behaviourist theories leading to using Open Badges as rewards.
The framework explores how Open Badges exist in relation to the milieu where they are created and exploited. In the picture above, we have tried to represent how the different components of an open society relate to each other and what the place of Open Badges is. In the following chapters we will explore the polymorphic properties of Open Badges that are at the same time objects that contain pieces of knowledge, connect such pieces and constitute the elementary blocks of what can be qualified as a native open trust network.
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