What is a micro-credential?
A micro-credential is an official certificate of recognition granted to a learner who has acquired a competence, according to a very precise breakdown of skills.
“Many agree that the concept has emerged in response to the skills gap caused by new technologies. Essentially, micro-credentials are bite-sized chunks of education, whether an online course, bootcamp certificate or apprenticeship from a traditional university, specialty provider or online learning platform like Coursera, EdX or Udacity.” BBC, Could micro-credentials compete with traditional degrees?
In Canada, eCampusOntario, a government-funded not-for-profit organization, is currently working with universities and colleges to develop micro-certifications in collaboration with industry partners. “A flexible and reliable recognition system is essential for professionals and employers, who are increasingly moving towards competency-based or skills-based recruitment. Micro-certificates differ from traditional credentials, such as degrees and diplomas, provide distinctive value and relevance in the world of work”.
Micro-credentials: what do employees think?
- 35% of employees said that the micro-certifications helped them to get a job or move forward in their career
- 70% think their company would or could benefit from partnering with a micro-certification provider
- 85% would seek or would be very likely to seek micro-certification if their employers facilitated the offer
- more than 90% of employees say they plan to pursue other micro-certifications in the future
- more than 90% of them would also recommend micro-certifications to their peers and colleagues
What are the categories of mico-credentials?
Open Badges are the best known, but we must not forget the various digital badges, online certificates and professional micro-certifications. Let’s take a look at these different terms to understand them!
Once micro-credential is obtained, the learner is provided with a proof of success: it often appears as a certificate accessible online, commonly called a digital badge. The open source Open Badges format is the most popular today because it can be implemented by any institution that wishes to do so and offers interoperability and durability ensured by a growing ecosystem of players: more than 3,000 organizations around the world create and issue this type of digital micro-certification today (Deloitte, Skills Badges at the heart of tomorrow’s training — FR).
These badges will follow the learner, the employee, throughout his/her career. As such, they must be “verifiable”, i.e. easily recognized as authentic, with an easy-to-trace origin.
Traceability, authenticity, durability: blockchain becomes the standard for micro-credentials
The blockchain, a lever for a skill-oriented educational approach: it enables the delivery of secure Open Badges and micro-credentials for professional use.
As with diplomas, the question of the authenticity of skill badges or micro-certifications is key, and the blockchain, a decentralized, durable and tamper-proof database, ensures an unequalled level of security.
BCdiploma is the first player to offer 100% blockchain technology for online certificates (called Digital Credentials) and secure Open Badges for professional use. Ontario universities, IFOCOP and emlyon executive education use this latest-generation format.
“The blockchain-based technology [note: BCdiploma] that eCampusOntario is using to issue these micro-certifications ensures that all records are encrypted and immutable, while protecting the right to be forgotten upheld in the GDPR.” states eCampusOntario in its article “Micro-certification: towards recursive system learning”.
Skills: France puts the spotlight on micro-credentials
A “skill block” is a “homogeneous and coherent set of skills which contribute to the autonomous exercise of a professional activity and which can be assessed and validated”, in other words “part of a diploma or professional training” (Uniformation — FR).
The act of September 5, 2019 “For the freedom to choose one’s future career” indicates that the professional certifications registered in the RNCP must be divided into skill blocks…in other words, into micro-certifications.