Where to start with micro-credentials and digital badges

There’s been a growing trend in the education sector towards short-form and alternative learning courses - accelerated by the advent of the global COVID-19 pandemic. While you may recognise that your institution needs to get into this space to compete, it can be difficult to know where to get started with micro-credentials and digital badges.

We’ve compiled a range of resources below that will help bring you up to speed with the rise of micro-credentials, what you can do to get started and where you can go for further information. You’ll also learn about Credentialate - the world’s first Credential Evidence Platform that helps you discover and share evidence of workplace skills and the only one with Skills-First Evidence Alignment.

Frequently asked questions

What are micro-credentials?

While there is as yet no universally agreed definition of ‘micro-credential’, a widely accepted definition by Emeritus Professor Beverley Oliver reads: A micro-credential is a certification of assessed learning that is additional, alternate, complementary to or a component part of a formal qualification.

Read Micro-Credentials - What They Are and Why They're Valuable

What are digital badges?

The digital badge is a visual representation of the achievement gained from the micro-credential. Digital badges have embedded metadata that provide richer validation of qualifications. They contain shareable information about the badge issuer, receiver, criteria for issuing, issue date, expiration date, standards adhered to and evidence of achievement.

Read Digital Badges - What They Are, How They Work and What They Mean

What are workplace skills and competencies?

Workplace skills comprise a mix of soft skills (such as teamwork, leadership) and domain specific skills (such as digital literacy, programming or first aid). Competencies represent the knowledge and behaviours required to perform the skill.

Read 21st-Century Skills - What They Are and Why They’re Important

How do you assess attainment of workplace skills?

Unlike traditional assessments, where there is a definitive right and wrong answer, workplace and transferable skills are far more intangible to measure against. Performance-based or authentic assessments ask learners to utilise their workplace skills to problem solve typical workplace challenges and are scored against grading rubrics that allow educators to assess without bias.

Watch Authentic Assessment of Critical Skills and Career Readiness

Why is evidence important to learners and employers?

As learners participate in micro-credentials, alternative learning and non-formal learning activities, the evidence of that learning, in a verifiable digital badge, can be collected in a digital backpack or passport and ‘stacked’ together. This provides learners and employers with a secure and flexible way for both parties to address the skills-gap with confidence.

Read 2021 Employability Outcomes Survey Whitepaper

Why is it important for micro-credentials to align to frameworks?

If micro-credentials, alternative learning courses and non-formal activities are aligned to existing frameworks, they have the opportunity to be credited towards the attainment of a formal-learning credential, such as a 2- or 4-year degree.

Read Frameworks - Proving Capability, Skill and Competency

Why is the link between micro-credentials and skills important?

For micro-credentials to be aligned to frameworks, the course curriculum must first be mapped to skills and competencies. Ultimately, and in an ideal world, the skills and competency data would then be aligned to labour market data, providing visibility and transparency of the end-to-end education to employment to lifelong learning journey.

Read Integrating Industry, Educators and Skills-Based Curricula

Where do I start planning for micro-credentials and digital badges?

Developing a short course and connecting it to a platform that can issue digital badges (a badging agent) is only the start of the journey - while it will get you on the path, without a greater investment in strategy and planning, they are unlikely to deliver on your needs, the needs of your learners, employers or industry. That’s because without aligning micro-credentials to skills and frameworks, the digital badge won’t hold much meaning in employment markets. (Credentialate is the only platform to offer Skills-First Evidence Alignment)

Watch Creating an Industry-Aligned Micro-Credentials Framework

How do I implement an evidence-based micro-credentials program?

Start with Credentialate to:

  • collect and aggregate learner data from multiple sources into a centralised system
  • align it to in-demand skills and competencies, frameworks and labour market data
  • issue a personalised evidence record with qualitative and quantitative detail
  • track and manage competency achievement outside of course silos

More than that, Credentialate:

  • utilises automation and templates to reduce human workload and enables scale
  • integrates non-formal and formal education into a single, framework-aligned evidence record
  • reduces the time and cost of launching skills-based micro-credentials

Go to the Credentialate home page

How to discover where you are now - and explore your options for the future

The Micro-Credential Maturity Model is a tool to help you assess current offerings, explore organisational aspirations and map out potential steps towards implementing a micro-credential program.

  • Defines 5 key stages of micro-credential deployment - ranging from initial exploratory experiments through to an immersive, integrated experience
  • Defines important factors, segmented into 7 facets
  • Highlights sample scenarios and provides guidance on completing
  • Identifies critical success factors to short-cut your learning and help you take action faster

Introducing Credentialate

Credentialate allows you to visualise course performance data like never before. Create visualisations and reports that surface trends and insights - from the institutional level down to the rubric element level.

  • Gain insights into the curriculum planning and management lifecycles
  • Surface learning outcomes against graduate attributes
  • Identify potential gaps in skill coverage, supporting the accreditation process
  • Identify opportunities to enhance support for at-risk learners

Get in touch for a confidential discussion

We’d love to help you on your micro-credential journey - simply submit your details and we'll make a time to discuss your unique micro-credential journey and what next steps look like for you.

Quick links to further resources