Most professionals engage in some form of training every year. But the way this training is delivered and certified is changing. Yes, degrees and the like are still the most prized qualifications to stick on your resume. However, a more focused approach is called for as professional skills-based training increases in importance.
Welcome to micro-credentials.
Micro-credentials are short courses that focus on a specific skillset, such as data analytics or time management. Such topics are rarely broad enough to require two or three years of study. Instead, micro-credentials target the kind of skills and knowledge that professionals need to apply to their day-to-day work. Importantly, these courses result in some form of certification – hence the ‘credential’ – which can be used as evidence that the skill has been mastered.
They are often delivered online, although they can be delivered face-to-face too. They can be made up of assignments, lectures, e-learning modules, assessments and all the other elements we traditionally associate with professional training programs. However, the certification of having completed the micro-credential is an integral part of the process. Certification should be provided digitally, so that the learner can easily prove their skillset to future employers as they make their way through their careers.
Many countries are embracing micro-credentials. Here are the guidelines from the Malaysian Qualifications Agency (MQA) and how the Australian government is embracing micro-credentials for vocational education and training.
There are several compelling reasons why companies should consider using micro-credentials.
Training can be personalised for both employee and employer
Micro-credentials lend themselves very well to personalisation. Employees can train for a specific skillset in a way that focuses on what they require at the level they need it. Employers can also tailor their micro-credentials to the needs of the company, so that courses improve performance and are closely aligned to business goals. Micro-credentials also enable managers to track the training of employees, so they can effectively assess skills gaps.
Learners are most engaged when they feel training will be genuinely beneficial to them. Micro-credentials fuel that engagement because they can be tailored to the job and invariably have a positive and immediate impact.
Recognises soft and hard skills
Employers and employees alike can keep track of individual progress as skills and knowledge increase. A formal recognition of micro-credential courses also establishes their importance. As a result, they are more likely to be taken seriously, especially if employees are able to use their certificates in other organisations.
Supports life-long learning
Many companies these days put a premium on life-long learning, and some give employees responsibility to design their own learning journeys. Micro-credentials support this concept as training is needs-focused and enables people to build up skills as and when they want to.
Micro-credentials are highly scalable. As courses tend to be short and geared towards a specific skill, they are easily transferable, too. E-learning micro-credentials are especially helpful in this regard. Well-designed online micro-credentials can be automated – either partially or fully – meaning you can roll them out to hundreds, if not thousands of people at a time.
The concept of micro-credentials is very much in tune with the way we train today’s professionals. It’s a great way to track an individual’s progress over the course of their careers and helps businesses provide training that is relevant and useful.
Moodle is the perfect LMS to deliver micro-credentials. The platform is built to be highly personalised and interactive, and includes features that enable automated certification and assessment. If you would like to know more, do get in touch.