The essence of Digital Open Badges can be boiled down to a simple premise: institutionalized education ain’t got no choke hold on learning.

Certainly, the accreditation techniques that schools and universities use to measure performance are useful and time-tested (stringent admission guidelines, term papers, final exams), but the advent of the Internet has made high quality educational content widely available to just about everyone. And considering the economic and social hurdles that prevent many students from attending good high schools and universities, there’s a huge need for ways to organize that online content and then recognize students who develop marketable skills through self directed learning.

And this is why the LessonPaths team is so excited to be a part of the DML Competition that Mozilla, HASTAC, and MacArthur Foundation initiated—digital open badges have the potential to revolutionize how skills are developed and accredited, and eventually even provide a trustworthy college alternative.

Charles, Kris, and Vince of the LessonPaths team collaborating on the Open Badges Project

And this potential is recognized by some very savvy people in the worlds of technology and education. Karen Cator, the Director of Educational Technology for the US Department of Education, Mark Surman, the Executive Director of Mozilla (which, of course, brought the world Firefox), and Gabe Newell, President and Owner of Valve (one of the most beloved and customer-focused video game developers ever), are just three big names who see the the importance of developing a robust badge ecosystem online.

Hear them talk about Open Badges in their own words in the video below.

In the ever-shifting landscape of education and technology, LessonPaths is proud to be a part of the movement that’s making a quality education accessible to everyone.