Digital Badges for Teacher Professional Development in India


To explore the range of ways that digital badge technology could be used to support effective teaching practice and professional development at scale with a focus on India.


Open digital badges are becoming globally recognised as a means for structuring, acknowledging, rewarding and monitoring professional learning. However, there remain many important, yet unanswered questions about their role in India, and more broadly, across the Global South. Furthermore, while in such contexts resources may be more limited, the scale, geography and conceptual challenges associated with supporting and improving TPD can be much more significant.  

The Digital Badges for Teacher Professional Development (TPD) in India project seeks to address this problem. It is a collaboration between Dr Simon Cross, Prof Freda Wolfenden and Dr Lina Adinolfi from The Open University and a team from the Tata Institute of Social Sciences India. Over the last three years, we have conducted pilots, field trials and academic research to understand more about the role for digital badges in delivering effective and measurable change in classroom teaching practice at scale. In particular, we have been interested in the following four questions:  

  1. How can digital badges be used as a strategy for teacher learning at scale and what is the value and significance of local context, enablers and challenges? 
  2. How should we best understand, frame and implement the potential benefits to teacher learning from using digital badges? 
  3. How can digital badges support greater personalising of TPD trajectories, transparency, inclusivity, authenticity and assessment at scale (such as peer and distributed assessment)? 
  4. What frameworks for the implementation of TPD at scale in the Global South and how should they be applied? 

Our achievements to-date include: 

Knowledge generation

  • In-depth applied research at different levels within the teacher education system. 
  • Conference presentations and public reports. 

Knowledge mobilisation

  • Over 200 teachers, educators and policymakers attended co-hosted international events.  
  • Teachers from over 220 schools in Assam completed our digital badged courses. 
  • Local events – teachers sharing experiences.

Capacity building

  • Adaptation of TISS technical platform to issue badges and enhanced assessment writing.
  • Increased understanding of significant stakeholders on the possibilities of digital badges.

Additional spin-off pilots and evidence of new projects building on our work.

This project is also aligned to the Learning Futures, Learning in an Open World and Professional Digital Learning research programmes in IET.

The role of IET

IET's Simon Cross is providing academic leadership and management of the project working with colleagues Prof Freda Wolfenden and Dr Lina Adinolfi in WELS and the Tata Institute of Social Sciences in India. IET have provided project support and helped facilitate international events associated with the project.



Cross, S., Charania, A., Wolfenden, F., Adinolfi, L., Sen, S., & Sarkar, D. (2022). Taking forward Teacher Professional Development at scale with digital badges: fieldstudy, findings and a framework for implementation from Assam, India. Milton Keynes, Open University, UK. In press. 

Cross, S., Wolfenden, F., Adinolfi, L., Charania, A., Sen, S., & Sarkar, D. (2022). Supporting practice-based teacher professional learning and assessment at scale in the Global SouthINTED2022. 7-9 March 2022.Spain. 

Charania, A., Wolfenden, F., Cross, S., Sarkar, D, Sen, S. & Adinolfi, (2022). The formation of mentor teachers and their role in professional development of rural teachers at scale in the COVID lockdown period in India. PCF10 Conference, September 2022. 

Cross, S., W Wolfenden, F., Adinolfi, L. (2022). Taking in the complete picture: framing the use of 360-degree video for teacher education and practice and researchTeaching and Teacher Education, 111, 103597. 

Cross, S., Adinolfi, L., Charania, A., Wolfenden, F., Ramchand, M., Sen, S., Paltiwale, S., Coughlan, E., Shende, S., Sarkar, D., Chatterjee, A., & Balli, O. (2021). Teachers’ professional learning during and after Covid: A role for open digital badgesThe Open University, Milton Keynes, UK. 

Wolfenden, F., Adinolfi, L. & Cross, S. (2020). Exploring open digital badges in teacher education: a case study from IndiaJournal of Learning for Development – JL4D, 7(1), pp. 108-115. 

Wolfenden, F., Adinolfi, L., Cross, S., Lee, C., Paranjpe, S. & Safford, K. (2017). Moving towards more participatory practice with Open Educational Resources: TESS-India Academic ReviewThe Open University, Milton Keynes, UK.



  • Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF)
  • The Open University Covid Response Fund


  • Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS)