2016 Badge Summit Preview: Interview with Eric Rousselle

This guy is coming all the way from FINLAND to learn and share with us!

I had the chance to put a few questions to Eric Rousselle about the upcoming 2016 Badge Summit as well as get some of his thoughts about Badges in general. In the short interview below, you’ll see why Eric is one of the folks who we are really excited to have joining us at the 2016 Badge Summit, and not just because he’s from Finland!

First, a little background: Eric Rousselle has contributed to the development of online learning solutions in both academic and corporate worlds for over two decades.

In 2001, he established Discendum (where he is currently CEO) with a group of other online learning innovators. Over the years, the company has become one of the most significant eLearning service providers in the Finnish market and continues to provide sustainable solutions that support lifelong learning and competence development in various sectors.

In recent years, Rousselle has promoted the awareness and usage of ePortfolios and Open Badges through seminars, presentations, articles and collaboration projects in both national and international contexts.

The interview

1. We are really excited to have you attend the 2016 Badge Summit. What aspect of the Badge Summit are you excited about?

Open Badges are not mainstream, so I am excited about the fact that a summit has actually been organized about this great topic! I look forward to meeting all kinds of people interested in Badges, to share ideas with them and to learn from their experiences.

2. Many educators in the United States are fascinated (or even obsessed) with the education system in Finland. What work is currently happening there with Digital Badges that you believe contains valuable lessons to share with educators outside of Finland?

Many professional schools and Universities of Applied Sciences have been developing their own Open Badges for some time now, but it’s interesting to see that some of them have been working together to develop widely recognized Open Badges systems. Different types of consortiums and projects are now being set up for the creation of national Badge systems, for example for teacher CDP purposes.

We learned that many organizations are interested in issuing Badges but few have the expertise, resources and even interest to create their own badges. Collaborative design of Badges is a way to increase the value of Badges, to avoid Badge inflation and to have a strong impact in wide networks of organizations and users.

3. Now that you have years of experience with Open Badges through Open Badge Factory, Open Badge Passport and other projects, what advice do you have for an educator who is looking to get started with using Badges?

Well, my advice would be not to reduce Open Badges to digital certificates. The problem with certificates is that they usually tell about some course completion but hardly about achievements, competences and skills of learners. Open Badges don’t have to be graphically fancy, but their criteria pages’ contents should be carefully designed.

I would encourage educators to think about the value of the badge from earners’ and customers’ (for example employers) point of view and not only from his/her organization’s perspective. Open Badges are more than shining stars working as course completion markers in an LMS system or school’s own internal portfolio. The most valuable badges have a meaning from a life-long learning perspective. A good question for an educator is: “What kind of benefit my badge will bring to its earners after they graduate?”


The 2016 Badge Summit is taking place on June 24, 2016 in Aurora, Colorado. Early registration is only $99 and includes breakfast and lunch, in addition to an assortment of powerful speakers, panels and workshops about Digital Badges. For more information, check out the event page, this post announcing the Badge Summit or feel free to message me on twitter (@SenorG).