Preparation for certification of micro-credentials

Interest in micro-credentials has been growing, fueled by demand from learners for short and flexible forms of learning and from industry and employers for verified skills-based credentials to satisfy the needs of the new world of work. Globally, education leaders, practitioners and technologists are being challenged to respond to demands for new forms of credentialing, such as micro-credentials, and to define how these fit with existing credentialing frameworks and emerging digital credentialing ecosystem.

Within Europe, a growing number of people need to update their knowledge, skills and competencies to fill the gap between their (sometimes old) formal education and fast-changing knowledge-development and labour market needs. As the economy recovers from the COVID-19 crisis, demand for short learning options and their recognition and validation is expected to increase. The green and digital transitions also require people to upskill or reskill for a successful move from one job or economic sector to another, as well as for gaining access to further studies, and as a consequence, the need for just-in-time, short, and tailored learning will grow. Short learning courses and experiences are rapidly being developed across Europe and globally by a wide variety of public and private stakeholders in response to the need for more flexible, learner-centered forms of provision of education and training for lifelong and life-wide learning.

Demand for credentials that certify the outcomes of these short learning experiences is thus increasing. This is what we call ‘microcredentials’. High quality, innovative and learner-centered learning and teaching offered by education and training institutions and other providers would be further enhanced with the flexibility that shorter courses, like micro-credentials, could offer for people of any age. Such continuous learning opportunities can fill the knowledge, skills and competencies gap, increase the efficiency of the higher education and vocational education and training systems, encourage innovation in the provision, and reach new types of learners, including those from disadvantaged backgrounds, to foster their personal, social and professional development.

Micro-credentials allow for a targeted acquisition of skills and competencies, adapted to a fast-changing society and labour market, while not replacing traditional qualifications. In particular, more flexible learning pathways and a larger take-up of micro-credentials will serve social, economic and pedagogical innovation and will help people to gain and update their knowledge, skills and competencies in all domains and for all purposes (employability, personal development, active ageing in the digital age etc)