Life on the edge of the moodleverse

Badger: Simple Badge block

At the upcoming 21st Century Learning Conference Hong Kong [], Tim Carrell and I will be presenting the ‘Badger Block’; one of the more exciting projects I’m currently working on.

We are very interested in the gamification of Moodle utilizing the conditional activities of Moodle 2. We’ve also been looking keenly on the work being done on Open Badges []. The badger block aims to bring the two together and provide the teacher with a relatively simple method of providing rewards within a course and across a site.

The badger block displays awarded badges in a side block and placeholders for badges still to be attained.


Clicking on either gives a review of what the badge is for and the criteria for awarding the badge so

  • those who have it know why and
  • those who want it know how to get it.


As further motivation, the block can also display a bar graph to show popularity of awarded badges.


Badges can be pushed through to the student’s external Open Badges back pack so that achievements can be documented outside of Moodle and beyond the enrollment of the students in their current schools.


Teachers can upload a badge [any square png image] and assign descriptions/criteria.


Note that badges can be put into ‘families’ or given a level.

  • The block only displays the highest achieved level and a placeholder for the next level for badges with the same name.
  • Badges in a family collection can be awarded in different courses and a block can be configured in any course (including the front page) to show badges awards for a named collection. [By default the block just shows badges created in the local course]

After creating a badge, the teacher then adds a link (a Moodle URL resource) to their course – typically access to this link is restricted through the Moodle 2 conditional activities to ensure that a student has to complete one or more tasks before the link becomes available and the students and claim the badge.


There are, of course, appropriate checks to ensure students cannot forge a badge URL to claim a badge they don’t yet deserve 🙂

Teachers can review issued badges to see who they have been awarded to and delete badges not yet issued.

Badges that have already been issued can be retired but not deleted; data about the badge is retained since the badge may already have been pushed to an external back pack – similarly an issued badge can be revoked from within the Moodle but it cannot be pulled back from an external backpack]


Initial pilots are underway and there seems to be a positive reaction to ‘badging’ from students.

I’d be interested in any feedback – and if there is demand I will try and find time to arrange a code release to git hub.

NB: there is a [moodle partner] group working on integration of open badges, moodle and mahara [details] but we didn’t want to wait 🙂


21 responses to “Badger: Simple Badge block

  1. nadavkav 21/01/2013 at 15:04

    Where can I download the plugin?

  2. Pingback: Badger Block brings Open and Custom Badges to a Moodle near you | Moodle News

  3. pascalecolonna 22/01/2013 at 17:41

    I’m interested in taking a look when this is ready. It would be nice to see how game-based learning can apply to Higher education (my area)… Which version will that be in, 2.3 or 2.4?
    Keep in touch?

  4. msagostino 22/01/2013 at 18:33

    Super cool! I’ve been making my own “badges” using the label feature like Frederic showed me, but this would be awesome!!

  5. eLearningTechie 22/01/2013 at 19:00

    Definitely interested in giving this a whirl as soon as it’s released (even if it’s still buggy’ish)

  6. Frankie Kam 23/01/2013 at 01:03

    Hi DrCheckers. Count me in for one of your beta-testers (if you ever needed a beta-tester) for your Badge gamification block. It’s really great that you’re working on this! I’m willing to test it out too! Frankie “Durianman” Kam.

  7. DJ 23/01/2013 at 03:28

    Very interested in a Badger block. Keep up the great work.

  8. Aaron Tyo-Dickerson 23/01/2013 at 04:33

    This is amazing! I have been gamifying my Moodle courses with homemade badges via the Label resources and wishing that something just like this existed. Would be very happy to beta-test or contribute in any way I can.

  9. drcheckers 23/01/2013 at 14:08

    OK – seems to be a lot of interest 🙂
    Once I’ve got the 21CLHK conference out of the way – I hope to tidy up the code and release by the end of next week [may still be some English language strings, etc] and recommended initially to braver testers on non-production servers.

    [for techies only]
    Since badge images have to be available without login (when pushed to the external badge pack) – there has to a *local_badger_pluginfile* function in /local/badger/lib.php [rather than a *block_badger_pluginfile* function in /blocks/badger/lib.php as this pre-requires login]
    That means an install needs to add a folder to blocks and to local – does it mean I need to create separate projects in github [and make it clear both are required]?
    Is there an alternative solution I’ve overlooked?

  10. Pete Potter (@PPotter) 26/01/2013 at 21:07

    Love it! Its how I imagined it to work. I would wait until badges come out of beta in March before a formal release. Also is there a way to get the name of the recipient into the data in the badge?

  11. Viv Hall 27/01/2013 at 21:56

    Iain I attended the presentation you and Tim did at 21CLHK, and really enjoyed looking at the clever ways you’ve designed plugins to make using Moodle easier for your teaching staff. Great work ! We’d love to use badger, quick content, and sharedropbox on our site here at DBIS.

  12. Graham 02/02/2013 at 19:46

    I’ve tested the block and it works as described. What I would prefer though is a method of pushing a badge to a student, so that the student doesn’t need to click on the url and doesn’t leave a mess of urls on my course page. This would also improve the experience for the student. On the whole thought it’s good progress, thanks for contributing.

    • drcheckers 02/02/2013 at 19:52

      Thanks for your feedback … whilst it could be made to push a badge within the walls of moodle – only a student can push a badge to their open badge back – requires student login to third party site.
      I’ll give the former some thought though …

      • Graham 02/02/2013 at 20:11

        Yes that would be fine, it’d be great to see the ability to push badges inplemented. Personally I wouldn’t intend to promote the Badge Pack feature but it’s there if students want to use it.

        PS there is a typo: Uploaded badges must by square png files

        Should be “must be”

  13. Pingback: Gamifying a Moodle course. What difference does it make? Week 2 | I Teach With Moodle | Sharing good practice using Moodle in and out of the classroom

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