Digital badging - Design for Life - The RSA - RSA

Digital badging

Digital badging

Validating the capabilities exams fail to recognise

In the 19th century, the RSA invented the modern exam. Now we're championing a 21st century innovation to validate the skills and capabilities that exams miss. We want to make all learning visible.

Building on the work we started with Cities of Learning, we aim to scale the use of standardised digital badges as infrastructure for a national programme of skills validation.

We want to:

  • Champion badging as a more inclusive and responsive form of skills validation.
  • Endorse all non-accredited learning in the UK.
  • Issue digital badging for the skills needed to shape a regenerative economy.

Digital Badging Commission

We've set up the independent Digital Badging Commission as part of this work. With our partner, Ufi VocTech Trust, we're working to transform how individuals, employers, and organisations recognise and reward learning and skills development. The Commission will broaden the understanding, development and adoption of digital badges.

Digital badging - Design for Life - The RSA

Digital badging: critical to the curriculum

Digital badging benefits three main groups in society. These are:

  • Learners: providing a permanent digital record of learning and recognition of their non-academic accomplishments.
  • Learning providers: building learner engagement and providing data to support impact measurement.
  • Employers: offering a fast-responding way to recognise industrial skills needs that are moving faster than traditionally accredited curricula can keep up with.

The RSA badge standards

Along with City & Guilds, we designed the RSA badge standards. These are a simple way of capturing skills, capabilities and attitudes in line with the OECD Learning Compass 2030.

The RSA badge standards are quality assured and provide a digital record of:

  • Content of the learning.
  • Context of the learning.
  • Contribution of the learner.

The badging standard has four layers, each recognising a different mode of learning. These are:


This shows a learner has gathered information and experienced a topic. For example, they attended a careers fair, exhibition or an open day.


This accredits a learner for interacting with, and joining in with learning. For example, they attended a workshop, training or club.


This confirms a learner has applied knowledge in a real-world environment to gain experience and get feedback. For example, they took part in a competition, work experience or project.


This certifies that a learner has embedded knowledge in different contexts and influenced others. For example, they joined an ambassador or leadership programme.

Towards the digital future of learning 

We want to work with partners across several sectors and institutions to achieve the ambition of validating all non-formal and unaccredited learning, including:

  1. Large-scale funders of skills and community learning and youth projects, to ensure that every publicly funded project validates learning with digital badges as part of their project impact and evaluation framework.
  2. Local, regional, and combined authorities, employer representative bodies and colleges, to support more responsive and connected local skills improvement plans.
  3. Employer sector groups, to create and validate badge templates that can be adopted by organisations providing skills in those sectors.

Join the Digital badging community

Can you help learners, learning providers and employers with our Digital badging intervention? Join our Circle community and share your expertise.


We partner with Badge Nation to help organisations write and quality assure digital badges to the RSA badge standard.

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