Educational Trends

Badges for Professional Learning

Written by Diana Benner

Research has proven that students who earn badges for learning are more engaged and remember what they’ve learned more. Those same results are also found when staff members receive badges for their professional development.

This blog was updated May 11, 2016 with additional badge resources.

At the recent TCEA Campus Technology Specialist Academy, I presented on “Promoting Technology Use on Your Campus.” During the presentation, I mentioned rewarding teachers who come to training by giving them badges. The technology team at Lubbock ISD immediately stated, “Rewarding our staff with badges for completing staff development has really motivated them.” Focusing on positive motivation rather than a fear of negative consequences can really make a difference.

If you are looking for ways to motivate teachers to attend professional development, try incorporating badges. Below are a few resources for creating your own.

Resources for Creating Badges

  • Class Badges – This is one of the more popular badging platforms, allowing the teacher to easily award badges aligned with learning goals.
  • Credly – Credly helps teachers to create badges, upload their own designs, and give credit through the platform. It is available as a web-based version and an iOS app.
  • Create a Badge with Google Drawing – If you have ever thought of creating your own badges, Google Drawing is a great tool to use. Read Alice Keeler’s blog entry on how easy it is to do.
  • For All Badges – This is an iOS app that works in conjunction with For All Rubrics to align your rubrics with the badging system. The app also integrates with Mozilla’s Open Badges platform, and allows students (or staff members) to save badges to their “backpack.”
  • Open Badges – Open Badges lets teachers to create and issue badges that do not have to be tied to a certain platform. Take the Badges 101 Quiz to see how it works and to earn your first badge.

Stay tuned for the 2016 TCEA Campus Technology Specialist Academy happening in Austin on November 17-18. This innovative, hands-on event will feature more great professional development resources, including badging.

Teachers who take the time to learn now have a way to be acknowledged for that learning. And we all know that recognition from our peers is the sweetest reward. Encourage them to include their earned credentials in their email signature or print and post them in their classroom. You can even publicly honor them by “presenting” the badges at a faculty meeting.

Here is Lubbock ISD’s Digital Learning site, a great resource.


Micro-credentialing is another way to reward staff for professional learning. These may be courses that are shorter than those for which badges or certificates are awarded, and are usually done online. There’s a nice infographic on micro-credentials from Taniya Knights here.

If you are incorporating a badging system into your professional development, we’d love to hear from you. Please let us know in the comment section below.

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About the author

Diana Benner

Director of Professional Development at TCEA
Diana specializes in leadership development and all things Google. She has served as an instructional technologist, instructional designer, and an online learning specialist, supporting districts all over Texas and in state government.
Diana earned Masters of Education in Educational Technology from Texas State University – San Marcos. She also holds two bachelor’s degrees, one in Spanish and the other in Political Science, from Texas State.

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