Employees, students, learners, and association members – people appreciate official proof of recognition through digital credentials. The most important factor that has led to the prominence of the verifiable credentials movement is the ease of issuing it.
Before delving deeper into the discussion of the benefits of micro-credentials and how they impact different aspects of professional growth for different sectors, it’s time to discuss its definition:
What is Micro-Credential?
Micro-credentials, also known as digital badges or nano degrees, are a type of certification that verifies a person’s skills or achievements in a specific area. They have become a conventional and convenient way of accrediting learners for education institutes, organizations, and training schools. Recognizing and validating learning that takes place outside of traditional degree programs has never been so easy.
Not only in finance and education sectors, but micro-credentials also have a significant impact on HR (Human Resources) duties. They work as a foolproof medium to evaluate and hire candidates based on their skills and competencies.
The modern world is learning-centric. People are willing to learn something new every day. Professionals participate in courses/programs that impart knowledge and propel their careers forward. In other words, credentials are perfect to support candidates who are bringing unique ideas and concepts to the table. Their program participation and the ability to showcase the newly obtained skills & knowledge influences others to do the same.
Educational centers, government agencies, and non-profit organizations can issue digital credentials to recognize the competency of the learner or deliver confidential documents.
For example, American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) offers a digital badge program that recognizes the achievements of its members.
The micro-credentials are also called nano credentials as they represent the efforts, dedication, and hard work of participants. The credentials mark a dramatic shift in the domain of credentialing systems of educational institutions and organizations. These digital credentials document achievements, progress, and participation in a tamper-proof manner.
Universities, government agencies, and organizations operating in any industry can issue digital credentials.
During the 2020 global pandemic, when institutions and corporations were forced to go remote, micro-credentials and digital badges played a pivotal role in seamless management credentialing processes for colleges, universities, and industries. The online credentials enable streamlined talent recognition which in turn encourages students/employees to participate in programs.
Accessibility, verifiability, and shareability are some of the best features of micro-credentials that make them ideal for a hassle-free, straightforward credentialing process. No matter which type of digital credentials an institute opts for, the benefits remain the same. So are you wondering about the types of micro-credentials? Here they are:
Institutions award students with digital credentials for completing an online course or program of study within a stipulated time. Examples include MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) and other online learning platforms that offer short-term courses in various subjects.
Learners receive these micro-credentials for completing a project or assignment that sharpens a particular skill or competency. Examples include completing a coding challenge, designing a website, or developing a marketing campaign.
These micro-credentials are awarded based on passing a test or exam that demonstrates a set of skills & knowledge in a specific domain. Examples include certification exams for various industries, such as IT or healthcare.
Completing a particular activity, such as an internship or volunteer work makes one suitable for the experience-based credentials. Examples include digital badges awarded by nonprofit organizations or community groups for participating in specific projects or events.
Demonstration of a particular set of skills related to a specific industry makes a participant an ideal awardee for competency-based credentials. Examples include badges awarded by professional associations or industry groups to recognize language proficiency.
The professional domain is going through a tough time due to a talent shortage. A lack of competent professionals prevents organizations/institutions from reaching their goals. Thus, encouraging learners/students/employees to acquire new skills & knowledge and inspire lifelong learning can bridge the gap between talented individuals and the skill requirements of organizations.
Micro-credentials heavily influence upskilling and reskilling and can extirpate the plague: the skills gap. Studies show that micro-credentials have such a powerful impact on the job industry that it’s believed to shape the economy. These badges play a critical role in being recognized in the market and sticking out from the competition.
Let’s take a look at some potential impacts of micro-credentials:
Micro-credentials are a way to award program participants for small-scale victories. But considering them any less than regular credentials can be a mistake. They are equally beneficial for the certification process and complement students’ learning curves. From traditional degree programs to informal, outside the regular courses – micro-credentials fit all situations. This makes credentials flexible and accessible to a wide range of learners. Most institutes offer micro-credentials for completing online modules in the shortest time or for passing module tests.
Recognition of skills
Micro-credentials are changing the way people demonstrate their knowledge & skills. The ease of uploading, earning, and showcasing skills online via micro-credentials makes them ideal for recognition. Renowned institutions/organizations appreciate learners who have several micro-credentials to show off. They offer better opportunities to such employees/students for further upskilling or career change.
Micro-credentials can be stacked together to create a more comprehensive credential, which appeals to employers more than a single credential on its own. The credentials influence employees/students to turn into lifelong learners. It leads to long-term knowledge & career advancement.
Improved hiring practices
Micro-credentials help employers to identify candidates with the specific skills and knowledge they need for a particular job. This allows more effective hiring practices and better job matches.
Micro-credentials have the potential to make education and training more flexible, accessible, and responsive to the needs of learners and employers. It began as an educational trend that has become a conventional way of learning and reskilling for all sectors. Organizations highly value these credentials as proof of trained and competent candidates. It’s not a surprise that as years pass by, the popularity of credentials only increases. Rapid industrialization and technological advancement also play a vital role in the growing admiration for micro-credentials. It’s not a practical solution for workers/students/employees to acquire proficiency in subjects/topics within the 15 years of traditional education programs. When a job necessitates mastery of a new topic, micro-credentials enable quick verification and authentication of efforts that go into obtaining the knowledge.
All these started as mere experiments, however, since the COVID-19 outbreak, it has become industry standards and hiring experts now highly consider micro-credentials as a ‘good to have’ qualification that offers better scope for growth & development.
It’s a well-known fact that micro-credentials have a significant impact in the educational sector, as they are changing the way learning is recognized and valued. Here are some ways that micro-credentials are influencing the educational sector:
Recognition of alternative learning pathways
Micro-credentials recognize learning outside of traditional degree programs. It enables learners to gain recognition for skills and knowledge acquired through non-traditional learning pathways, such as online courses, work-based learning, or community-based learning.
Increased focus on skills-based learning
Micro-credentials focus on specific skills or competencies. It helps to shift the attention of education and training from stacking up credits or degrees to practical, relevant skills development.
More flexible and personalized learning options: One can earn micro-credentials through online learning platforms. They allow learners to complete the courses as per their schedule and at their own pace. This can make education more accessible to learners who may not have the time or resources to attend traditional classes. Stacked-up credentials help learners to gain a competitive edge in the job market. This can also help to break down silos between different areas of study and encourage interdisciplinary learning.
Increased collaboration between education and industry
Micro-credentials are often developed in collaboration with industry partners, which helps to ensure that they are relevant to the needs of employers. This can lead to more effective partnerships between education and industry and can help to create a more seamless transition from education to employment.
Being small-scale in size, micro-credentials take less time to complete and earn. But this in no way lessens their significance. In some cases, they might help awardees take care of indispensable tasks throughout their professional life.
As the credentials offer digitally versatile confirmation of learner’s skills & knowledge, HRs consider these as proof of authenticity. Being virtually verifiable, identifying the earning criteria behind each credential leverages a seamless hiring process. Micro-credentials hold the most value to mid-management level employees as they offer greater opportunities to diversify their expertise. It’s not only employees who benefit from the credentials, HRs as well. Let’s see how micro-credentials are influencing HR duties:
Identification of qualified candidates
Micro-credentials help HR managers to identify candidates who have the specific skills and knowledge required for a particular job. This can lead to more effective hiring practices and better job matches.
Micro-credentials serve as a screening tool for HR managers, who can use them to assess a candidate’s skills and competencies. It can save time and resources in the recruitment process.
Micro-credentials are excellent professional development tools, allowing HRs to provide targeted training to employees who need to develop specific skills.
Micro-credentials are a way to recognize and reward employees who have developed new skills or completed particular training programs. It motivates and engages employees, and leads to increased job satisfaction.
Virtually verifiable credentials make it easy for HR managers to verify a candidate’s credentials and ensure that they are legitimate.
Micro-credentials influence HR duties by providing a new way to evaluate and hire candidates based on their skills and competencies, serve as a screening tool, provide a professional development tool, recognizing employees, and offering easy credential verification.
The impact of micro-credentials stretches beyond traditional limits. By earning a micro-credential, an individual has all the tools available to demonstrate their set of skills that are relevant to their job duties. This authorizes increased job responsibilities, promotions, and higher salaries.
For example, a financial analyst who earns a micro-credential in data analysis or programming may be able to analyze financial data more efficiently and accurately, leading to better decision-making and improved business outcomes for the organization. Similarly, a financial planner who earns a micro-credential in estate planning may be able to provide more comprehensive and effective advice to clients.
Micro-credentials can also help individuals stay up-to-date with the latest industry trends and best practices, which is particularly important in the fast-paced and constantly evolving field of technology and finance. By staying informed about industry developments, professionals can better anticipate changes in the market and adjust their strategies accordingly.
Micro-credentials meet the need of organizations looking for short-term, low-cost, upskilling courses to keep employees job-ready. The flexible learning environment has become an essential part of the learning route. As we have already discussed the influence of micro-credentials in various industries, it’s time to dive deeper into the discussion of how micro-credentials work.
Course providers offer micro-credentials to course participants to acknowledge efforts learners put into to gain specific skills or knowledge. Participating in online courses, workshops, or on-the-job training leverages candidates the potential to earn credentials. In the last few years, the growth of courses smaller than traditional degrees or certifications is prevalent. Along with regular colleges/universities, many new-age e-learning platforms also offer such programs. The entire certification session is authenticated via micro-credentials. The credentials consist of a digital badge or certificate that contains information about the specific skills or knowledge that have been learned, the date of credentialing, and the length of its validity.
To earn a micro-credential, an individual must complete a specific set of requirements, such as completing a course or passing an exam. The requirements for each micro-credential may vary depending on the issuing organization and the specific skill or knowledge being recognized.
Micro-credentials are everywhere. Whether you attend a course via a traditional institute or a newly developed platform, the learning process is incomplete without these credentials. From working professionals to stay-at-home parents, anyone can earn them just by participating in courses/programs.
CertifyMe is an industry leader in the field of micro-credentialing systems. It’s a credentialing tool that enables a seamless, streamlined micro-credentialing process for quick certification. A collaboration with us can simplify institutes’ credentialing procedures. If you are ready to partner with a new-age, foolproof certification software, book a demo with us. You can talk to our experts as well to start credentialing your students.