Micro-credentialling is a way for employees to demonstrate their skills to employers, and for employers, it can be a cost-effective tool for delivering personalised training. With everyone from nonprofits to businesses using these mini qualifications micro-credentialling holds considerable promise for employees. So, how do they work when it comes to demonstrating and understanding a potential employee's skills?
What are micro-credentials?
Also known as nanodegrees, micro-degrees and – at DeakinCo. – as a ‘micro signal of achievement’, micro-credentials are mini-qualifications that allow you to formally demonstrate skills, knowledge, and/or experience in a specific subject area or competency. This allows employers to recognise existing capability with no learning. You can get a micro-credential for soft or hard skills. For example, you can be awarded one for digital marketing (hard) or communication (soft).
Micro-credentials offered by DeakinCo. can be one-off qualifications, or they can be part of a pathway program that includes a number of micro-credentials.
Because their focus is narrow, micro-credentials usually require less time to complete than traditional qualifications like a diploma or degree. The process could take anywhere from weeks to a year. However, sometimes micro-credentials can have a broad or generalist topic. For example, you could obtain a micro-credential in making strategic decisions or teaching creative problem solving.
Obtaining a micro-credential can involve completing set activities, projects, and assessment, along with on-the-job demonstrations of skills. Employees might be required to attend lectures, seminars, conferences, or workshops as part of their training. Once the employee has completed the work, they might receive a digital certificate or badge as evidence.
Micro-credentials: how they support the recognition of skills
Micro-credentials can be beneficial for employees as well as employers. They make it easier to recognise on-the-job learning, and they can be used to make staff-development programs highly personalised and relevant.
- Independent verification – If the credentialing program is offered through a reputable, accredited provider, organisations can enjoy the certainty of independent verification of employee skills. This could mean employees’ skill sets are up-to-date and — at minimum — in line with competitor's standards. In terms of recognition, independent verification provides trust and credibility to the micro-credential.
- Personalisation and relevance – Traditional learning tends to be generalist in approach, while micro-credentialling is highly targeted, offering employees a personalised, relevant, and as-needed approach to skill enhancement. Employers can design highly personalised staff-development programs with a combination of micro-credentials.
- Employee engagement – Offering employees the opportunity to learn new skills and stay refreshed on their competencies could encourage employees to stay engaged in their role, especially given the demand for flexible lifelong learning. The result could be higher productivity and retention, and lower turnover.
- Highly-specialised skill sets – Employers can recognise and award highly-specialised skill sets that might be specific to a niche industry or even an organisation. For the employee, the micro-credential offers a way to demonstrate a competency that otherwise would be challenging to acknowledge.
- Recognise earlier training and informal learning – Employees often learn valuable skills on the job that are challenging to recognise and quantify. For example, presentation skills, negotiation, and communication can be essential in any type of role; yet, traditional qualifications rarely recognise these. Additionally, the training might have taken place decades back, making it difficult to demonstrate or recognise the skill. With micro-credentialling, you can recognise earlier training programs and ensure informal learning is tracked and recognised.
- Give structure to learning – Micro-credentials are a great way to give structure to on-the-job, informal learning, and in doing so, they help demonstrate skills, especially soft skills, by making them more tangible.
- Multidisciplinary positions – Micro-credentials offer a cost-effective and convenient way to upskill staff members who need to obtain and demonstrate multidisciplinary skills. This can be especially relevant for employees in roles requiring a range of tech skills and/or soft skills.
- New and emerging job roles – Traditional qualifications are still struggling to catch up with the changing workplaces in terms of skills and knowledge for employees. Micro-credentials are a flexible way to keep employees up to date with the changes in skills, and they can be used to complement traditional skill sets. For employees, they can help demonstrate you're qualified in newer areas like data-driven marketing, data science, and cybersecurity.
- Cost effective – Micro-credentialling is cost effective, allowing you to target specific skills and capabilities instead of having to make large outlays for a major qualification. This makes the process of recognising skills more accessible for both employers and employees.
- Convenience and flexibility – Micro-credentialling programs can be delivered entirely online, making it convenient for both employers and employees who want to upskill without a lot of time and effort. Organisations can scale training programs up or down by using micro-credentials. Again, this ensures recognising skills becomes more accessible.
Micro-credentialling offers a flexible, accessible, and cost-effective way of recognising skills. It can be invaluable for recognising and validating or measuring highly-specialised competencies, as well as new and emerging skills. For employers, micro-credentialling could play a critical role in designing personalised employee development programs and tracking training, while for employees, it provides a way to demonstrate skills that might other be challenging to prove.
DeakinCo. is a trusted partner in corporate education and training for major industry leaders across Australia. We offer bespoke learning and development solutions to help you prepare your workforce for the future. If you'd like to know more about our expertise in micro-credentialling, contact our team today for a discussion.