Summary of Digital Badge Provider Comparison at College of the Canyons


As a part of the College of the Canyon’s Digital Badge Initiative, the implementation team decided to conduct a side-by-side comparison of the 2 leading Digital Badge Providers in order to make an informed and knowledgeable decision of which platform their institution would use.  By requesting in-depth demonstrations from Acclaim and Badgr, College of the Canyons was not only able to visually experience the platform, but they had the opportunity to have meaningful conversations about what their needs were compared to what the provider could offer in terms of functionality and features.   

During the demonstrations, the College of the Canyons team was able to specify key issues and essential information that they wanted to implement in conjunction with their Digital Badge Provider. They were able to discuss what they envisioned as best practices for the badge earner, issuer and employer experience. Having the ability to gain insight into the functions and features of both platforms provided clarity of what the team would like to accomplish at College of the Canyons. 

Common Core Features 

Both Acclaim and Badgr are certified in OpenBadges V2.0 – and are leaders in the Digital Badging Platforms.  Acclaim has one goal: “to help individuals move forward professionally. Through Acclaim, job seekers tell the full story of their professional lives with credible information. Employers easily evaluate and verify the qualifications of job applicants. Credentialing bodies, academic institutions and professional organizations ensure their program’s integrity online”.  Badgr is a free and open source achievement recognition and tracking system used to issue, organize, and share Open Badges.  With Badgr, you can create as many Issuers and Badges as you like and there is no limit on the number of badges you can award. 

Acclaim and Badgr offer similarities and common features – such as: including a badge creation and authoring tool, as well as having comprehensive and full feature APIs. Both providers create digital badges that include underlying data describing the accomplishment – that can be instantly verified and exported and shared through various platforms.  The main differences between the two providers are: volume of customer base and the distinguishing features they offer. 

Customer Base 

Acclaim’s customer base includes millions of individuals; and enterprise leaders, education institutions, certification providers, and associations like IBM, Microsoft, the American Council on Education, the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants (AICPA), and Southern New Hampshire University.  Thousands of colleges use Acclaim and Credly (who Acclaim recently merged with).  The vast majority of Badgr’s customer-base is rooted in Education. Badgr has over 1,000 active Canvas integrations and there are many schools and organizations not using Canvas that also use their free services at Badgr is used in over 38 countries around the world. There are over 50 schools in California using Badgr, over half of which are colleges and universities. 

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Distinguishing Features 

Acclaim’s focus on Labor Market Insights is a key distinguishing feature, as well as their Industry and Certification partners.  Since Acclaim’s goal is to turn learners into earners, “the badge earner can use their badge and its associated skill tags to search for jobs by job title, location, employer, and salary range. And if you find a job you’re interested in, you’re just a few clicks away from applying”.  Whereas, Acclaim focuses on Employment – Badgr’s key distinguishing feature is Badgr Pathways – “with Pathways, badges from any Open Badges compliant platform can be stacked together in alignment with competency frameworks. Learners have an easy-to-understand map view of where they are in a curriculum. And just like they can share badges, learners can share their Pathway progress – including the steps that they have not yet completed. This allows a learner to share the directionality of their journey, not simply the credentials they already have”.   

In Summary  

A summary of what the College of the Canyons team learned through the demonstration was: Acclaim focuses on the result and merit of the badge. Badgr highlights the learner’s progress along the way – the badge is seen as a motivational tool and a form of praise.  As a result of the Digital Badge demonstrations, the team was able to make an informed decision on which provider best suited the needs of their students, faculty and institution as a whole.  The team was 100% confident in their decision-making process due to the fact that they were able to experience each platform as both the issuer and earner, as well as partake in conversations with the digital badge providers about specific issues and requests pertaining to their individual needs as a college.  The demonstration process proved to be effective, informative and provided confidence and assurance to the team about their chosen provider to host their college’s digital badge program. 

For a more detailed comparison of the two vendors, please see the included spreadsheet.

Digital Badge Provider Comparison Spreadsheet


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