The Small but Mighty Micro-Credential

September 20, 2021
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Micro-credentials can be an outstanding way for organizations to support all aspects of professional development and lifelong learning for their stakeholders. But, what are micro-credentials, and why should you consider using them in your association or organization? We had an informative conversation with Dr. Ginger Malin, CEO at BadgeCert, which answered these very questions.

Our VP of Client Experience, Amanda Davis, guided the discussion during our webinar: A Fireside Chat with BadgeCert & Blue Sky eLearn: Innovations in Learning: The Small but Mighty Micro-Credential. Watch the entire webinar here, and read on for some key insights.

What are micro-credentials and digital badges?

A micro-credential is a short competency and learning-based recognition. Completing a micro-credential provides evidence to potential employers that individuals have mastered the skills necessary to succeed.

Digital badges often represent a collection or “stack” of micro-credentials. They are great visual ways to show a commitment to learning and acknowledge achievements on resumes, social media, and more.

Stackable credentials are an opportunity to start small and then stack one credential upon another to build a mastery of a specific competency or skill. It’s like a “choose your own adventure” for your professional career advancement.

How can micro-credentials address an organization’s goals?

Micro-credentials provide numerous valuable opportunities to organizations and can include:

Content Utilization: Many organizations have vast, yet often scattered, libraries of content. Micro-credentials offer a new way to present and package content for members while recognizing credential holders’ achievements. The goal isn’t necessarily to create new content; rather, it’s an opportunity to recenter what you’re already doing and repackage it in a different way to support members.

Providing “Value Adds” to Members: Professionals need ways to individualize their learning and differentiate themselves in the competitive employment marketplace. Micro-credentialing is a fun and fulfilling way to help members advance their careers and engage them on more levels within your organization.

Can micro-credentials help fill gaps of learning, needed skills, and expertise?

In a word, yes! The best way to assess how micro-credentials can help fill gaps of learning is through a content audit. Using the audit as a roadmap, you can easily identify gaps that will create a guide for future content development needs, show repurposing opportunities, and, most importantly, show you all the progress you have made thus far. Once you have audited the content and created a content curation plan, you can determine where to develop micro-credentials.

Other areas micro-credentials can help address:

Pre-Credential: In what ways do you help people who are new to an industry or organization? How can you help them get prepared to sit for a credential? Micro-credentials are a great way to help new folks dip their toes into the water and determine if they are working toward something they are truly passionate about.

Post-Credential: Learners have earned their credentials; now what? Micro-credentials are a great way to continue adding to their accomplishment, build upon their experience, and keep them invested in the credential.

Adaptation: As we’ve seen in the last few years, change can happen fast. Organizations need to adapt to changes in their respective industries and a constantly changing environment. Micro-credentials are a great way to fill in the gaps during times of change and transition.

Additional Recognition: Micro-credentials are rich opportunities to recognize more nuanced achievements. These recognitions go beyond course completion to identify something skill-based and unique to the learner and organization.

How can micro-credentials be used to differentiate offerings?

Micro-credentials help answer the common question of “What’s in it for me?” (WIIFM). Associations that provide more opportunities for formal recognition have an advantage over associations that don’t. A member will feel like they have more “skin in the game” and want to continue their membership if they have more chances to demonstrate their learning, be formally acknowledged by an industry authority, and thus be supported in their career.

Want additional ideas on how to implement micro-credentials into your learning program? We discussed so much more during our webinar, including:

  • How to use micro-credentials to recognize and reward success
  • Ideas to freshen up your content
  • How micro-credentials can support onboarding
  • Micro-credential and digital badging branding ideas
  • Using micro-credentialing to generate revenue
Watch the full webinar on-demand now for more information about this engaging innovation in learning and skill recognition.

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