Digital Credentials and Badges Digital Credentials and Badges

Digital Credentials and Badges Background

Institutions are exploring new approaches to teaching and learning in a dual effort to adapt to changing market pressures and better serve their students. Some of the current academic and market challenges include increasing funding pressures, providing support for lifelong learning, ongoing educational innovation requirements, acknowledging the growing number of alternative credentials, and addressing the need to better equip an increasingly diverse population with 21st-century skills.

Applicable IMS Global Project Workgroups:

Extended Transcript

Open Badges Workgroup


Open Badges: A New Microcredential for Learning

Open Badges are information-rich visual representations of verifiable achievements earned by recipients and are a vital component of the digital credentials ecosystem. IMS Global is responsible for managing and advancing the Open Badges specification. In 2017, the IMS Open Badges Workgroup is reviewing the proposed update to the Open Badges specification and developing IMS certification for platforms that support Open Badges. 


Extended Transcript (eT): a new transcript for the 21st Century

View more details about the forthcoming eT standard.

A central need in the emerging CBE ecosystem is the need for a modern, relevant transcript. IMS Global, closely following the developing registrar guidance of AACRAO, is leading the prototype development of an extended transcript (eT) designed to support competency-based programs. This prototype is an example of a modern, web-based extended transcript, flexible enough to support the descriptive nature of competency reporting and targets the needs of learners, registrars, and employers. The vision for eT is transformative in its potential, beyond providing relevant student competencies and skills. Based on the IMS Digital Credentialing work and leveraging the Open Badges standard and those of the W3C, the vision for eT is a secure, student-centered digital record for the 21st century. 

The figure below is an example of how an extended transcript may be rendered in a web browser. Each institution will have the flexibility to design its own preferred user experience, this is one example only. The common data specification under development, based on the linked data standard JSON-LD, will enable the learner to securely share view-access to their credentials via the web, without the need to make a physical copyby sharing a secure link. Note: all student and institution data is fictitious.

View a demonstration of the Extended Transcript in action courtesy of Learning Objects logo


In 2015, the IMS Global CBE Workgroup took on five common issues in competency-based education, based on research conducted with 35 C-BEN institutions. The use cases selected involved the management of essential competency data and the exchange of CBE information between systems in an institutions' technical environment. The project is led by contributing member institutions and brings together designers and product architects from major software suppliers and innovative new entrants to collaborate on the data standards needed to facilitate the CBE data exchange.  

5 Pilot Use Cases

  • Manage Competencies in an integrated database (including versions and course relationships as needed)
  • Report Evaluation Results
  • Provide Non-Term Program Information
  • Capture Student-Faculty Interaction
  • Publish a CBE eTranscript 



Extended Transcript Phase 1: Pilot Implementation and Results

Extended Transcript Prototype: Demonstration

Extended Transcript Phase 2: Achievements Records Standard and SkillsCenter Search™


Get Involved

The CBESpec team is drilling down into two use cases, CBE Assessment Results Reporting and eT, the Extended Transcript, where live pilot projects are under design.    

IMS Global is leading higher education institutions of all types to put in place a new architecture to make the production and delivery of innovative educational models easier. Contact Us to learn more about the Competency Badge Learning Workgroup and the new IMS Global Digital Credentials Initiative.

Capturing learner achievements that are verifiable, portable, and interoperable through Open Badges and in the future, learning pathways and Blockchain extensions.

Specifications [ view all... ]