Conventional study programmes alone are ill-suited to meet the rapidly changing expectations posed by learners, the workplace and society overall. Micro-credentials can rise to this challenge, and do it inexpensively.
Micro-credentials have existed for years under different names. They are issued by various non-formal and formal education providers – with examples ranging from an open water diving certification provided by tourism focused dive-centres to online courses on Artificial Intelligence provided by universities. The usually short workload and low requirements for entry (if not being openly accessible to all) well position micro-credentials in guiding learners through their education and career pathways as well as promoting lifelong learning.
The recent Council Recommendation on a European Approach to Micro-Credentials provides a common definition for micro-credentials in the EU, most notably requiring micro-learning to be assessed and quality assured. Globally, standardising the description of micro-credentials using learning outcomes, workload (and equivalent credits) and qualification frameworks is increasingly sought for the value of these credentials to be better understood (and therefore recognised) for employment or further education purposes even across borders. Initiatives within this sector therefore seek to:
– integrate micro-credentialing into policy regulations and financial schemes on national and institutional levels.
– standardise the design and issuing of micro-credentials, particularly with verifiable digital credentials.
– increase cooperation between the education and employment sectors in and through the provision of co-designed micro-credentials.