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How it Works

Cities are full of people with unrecognised talents and potential...  

How can we capture learning that happens outside of the classroom in a language that is meaningful for employers or other opportunity providers?



Cities of Learning captures all the learning that’s hidden in a city and surfaces it via a digital app; making it easy to discover and get involved.


Open Badges give people a portable record of achievement and employers a new way to connect with talent in cities.


Working through a learning pathway can be likened to embarking on a journey. Learners progress towards a desired goal - employment or further learning - using open badges as stepping stones to get there.

The Platform - Powered by smart technology

Cities of Learning has collaborated with Navigatr, a company with expertise in digital badging technology. Together we have created the Cities of Learning platform – a place where learning opportunities can be showcased. Currently in beta-testing, the platform will be launching in Summer 2020.

It’s designed to:

  • Showcase the hidden learning and career opportunities that are happening in our cities by plotting them on a city map
  • Link learning opportunities together to make pathways, which help learners to move towards a personal or professional goal
  • Be a portal for learners to store their badges and credentials

The platform has taken shape with the support of our pilot cities, featuring early adopters in each city – a diverse range of organisations, including schools, charities, FE colleges, youth groups and employers.

Produced by Mozilla

What are Open Badges?

Open Badges give people a portable record of achievement and employers a new way to connect with talent in cities. 

They are digital representations of a person’s learning or experience, designed to be shared on social media and online CVs for maximum visibility and recognition. 

They are awarded to individuals and signify achievements - from interest-based volunteering to membership to skills mastery, project completion, or a qualification. 

Each digital badge is packed with data, providing context about the achievement – including details of the issuer and the skills and knowledge developed (and at what level), all of which can be digitally verified in real-time. 

Open badges were originally conceived by Mozilla in 2012 are already used successfully by companies like IBM as a trusted way of tracking skills.


Learning pathways are a way of bridging the gap between where a learner is now and where they want to be.

Put simply, a pathway is a sequence of learning experiences that build on each other to achieve a desired goal, be it in career progression or mastering a skill. 

Working through a learning pathway can be likened to embarking on a journey. Learners progress towards a desired goal using open badges as stepping stones to get there..  

Pathways are curated by each city's delivery partners who select complementary badges and link them together into a sequence.

Learners have the flexibility to swap out some of the badges in the sequence and replace them with others that better suit their needs, creating a personalised pathway.


The backbone of the pathway is a standards framework developed for Cities of Learning by the RSA. 

Badges on the pathway use the framework to represent different depths of knowledge and experience. 

The most advanced levels - Demonstration and Leadership - are also endorsed by City & Guilds Group for extra validation and rigour. 

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Learn more about the pliots

The pilot cities have led the way in designing and issuing the first badges to learners, recognising the skills acquired from wide ranging and diverse activities.