Certificates vs Badges in Moodle – what’s the difference?

There are various ways to motivate your students to complete a course. Two of the most popular are certificates and badges. But what is the difference, and what is best way to use both tools to help your students succeed?


Certificates are traditionally given to a student at the end of a course to prove they have mastered a particular skill and are now qualified in some way. The information on a certificate can simply state the student’s name, education institution, course title and date. However, you can opt to provide more information, such as study hours – helpful for professionals who take courses for Continued Professional Development (CPD) – names of modules, grades, or other details relevant to people who might view the certificate.

It is important that certificates are easy to share online. You can offer certificates in PDF format and create a QR code or unique text code for the student to put on their resume. Some educational institutions create portals for employers to access, so they can view the student’s certificate secure in the knowledge that it is from a legitimate source. 

One point to note is that certificates should only be given when a student completes substantial study. If you award certificates after one module, for example, then you risk devaluing the certificate itself. The certificate will have more value when given out on completion of a full course. 


There is another way to recognise student success as they progress through a course. Badges appear as small icons on a course page or a student’s profile and can be awarded for completion of specific modules or tasks. You can add other information, such as reason for attaining the badge, quiz score, etc, and make it viewable when the student clicks on the icon. This is captured as metadata and added to the badge.

Badges work well in online courses and can be a useful motivator as students collect them, perhaps in competition with others. Badges are designed to be issued for smaller achievements. Because Moodle uses the Open Badges standard, badges can be displayed externally via “backpacks”. This allows users control over how their achievements are shared.

Certificates vs Badges in Moodle

You can award certificates in Moodle by adding the one of the certificate plug-ins, Custom certificate or Workplace course certificate. Both have very similar features, so try them out to see which you prefer.

You can customise certificates to include any information you want. You can also play with the design by adding different backgrounds or generate a QR code or unique text code. They are awarded manually, or made accessible on completion of a series of other activities on a course.

The Badge feature is already integrated into the core Moodle system. So you do not need to download a plug-in. Again, you can customise badges to include all the information you need, although you should keep it brief. Badges are designed to be a marker of success, so there is no need to go into lots of detail. You can even offer badges in different languages.

Awarding Badges can either be a manual process or automated. Educators set the points at which badges are automatically awarded in a course. For example, after a certain score on a quiz, or contributing to discussion forums.  

Many online educators use a combination of certificates and badges to motivate their students. They are a proven method that increases the chances of course completion. So, do consider them for use in your own e-learning programs. 

If you need any advice or training on setting up certificates or badges in Moodle, get in touch with Pukunui

Vinny Stocker

Vinny is an experienced educator and technologist with over 25 years of leadership experience in the field of information and communication technologies (ICT) in education. He is the Managing Director of Pukunui Sdn Bhd, a leading Learning Management Systems provider in Malaysia, where he has successfully implemented e-learning systems for some of the largest universities in the country. He is also a recognised expert in the field of Moodle, having trained hundreds of teachers on various versions of the software and regularly presenting at educational conferences in South East Asia. Vinny is known for his progressive and driven approach, as well as his ability to provide practical and effective solutions that promote student progress and learning. He is an accomplished entrepreneur, published author, and a down-to-earth and approachable individual dedicated to improving education through innovative integration of ICT.

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}

At Pukunui, we are at the forefront of eLearning solutions in Malaysia, offering top-tier LMS Hosting services tailored for the Malaysian market. Our commitment to

Read More
Career Opportunities at Pukunui Malaysia

Sertailah kami untuk latihan LMS di Kuala Lumpur! Mencari latihan LMS Kuala Lumpur? Semak secara berkala untuk mendapatkan kemas kini dan maklumat tentang kursus-kursus kami

Read More
Latihan LMS di Kuala Lumpur, pembelajaran atas talian di Malaysia.

Moodle and TalentLMS are both learning management systems (LMS) that allow educators to create and manage online courses. Both platforms offer features such as course

Read More
Moodle vs TalentLMS: Similarities and Differences

Online learning has gained significant popularity in Malaysia in recent years and for good reason. With technological advancements and the growing need for flexibility, online

Read More
Unlocking Opportunities: Online Learning in Malaysia

Key Takeaways: LMS vs SMS for Your School An LMS focuses on enhancing academic processes and online learning, while an SMS streamlines administrative and non-administrative

Read More
LMS vs SMS for Your School’s Success

This post looks at a Moodle RTOManager integration that we recently implemented for a client. Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) require a software solution that caters

Read More
Moodle RTOManager Integration: Streamline & Enhance Training

Talk to us 

How can we help you, help your learners?