The transformation of the workplace through technology has modernized our learning methods and how it is recognized. Individuals who upgrade their skill set during their employment and seeking professional opportunities are geared towards career growth.
However, traditional models and frameworks for professional growth recognition to provide career opportunities don’t suffice the needs of the workforce members.
The emerging trend in the growing interest of microcredentialing explains the need for all workplaces to maintain competitiveness and productivity.
It creates career path maps to ensure that employees are developing new capabilities and quantify each skill where it is deemed appropriate. Seeking out learning opportunities bulks up resumes with field-centered and knowledge-based skills.
Microcredentials — The Future of Competency Recognition
Microcredentials are certification-based qualifications that demonstrate knowledge, experience, or skills in a given career niche, subject area, or professional capability.
Its curriculum and methods of teaching tend to be narrower compared to the traditional qualifications of formal education like degrees or diplomas. Each learner can earn a micro-certification or a digital certificate once the competence in a specific skill is proven at the end of the course.
Since professional growth is a recurring experience that any employee should take periodically, young professionals or career aspirants find it hard in demonstrating mastery of new skills while working eight to twelve hours a day. This makes professional advancement as a challenge difficult alongside your normal duties and responsibilities in life, work, and family.
The Basics of Microcredentialing
Microcredentialing is the process of obtaining a microcredentials that can be either be broad, such as ‘Supervisory Management’ and ‘Content Marketing’, or specific, like ‘Learning Competencies of Students in Economics’ and ‘Using Statistical Data to Generate Learning Achievements among High School Students’.
To earn your micro-certificate, you have to enroll in a learning institute either online or through a physical school under the program that you would like to take depending on its availability.
You need to attend your scheduled classes on a given period then complete the activities related to your learning. Once you have successfully submitted the requirements and passed the examinations — your performance will be assessed by the instructor.
Once you graduate from the program — you will earn the credential in the form of an e-certificate, digital badge, or any form of online recognition as proof that you have proven your competency in the field.
It can be awarded for both hard and soft skills depending on the capacity and availability of an employee with an unlimited number of subject areas.
Soft skills in leadership, self-management, teaching competencies, employee management, and intrapersonal communication can be taken.
Hard skills in front or back-end website development, website design, customer service & sales representative, digital marketing for real estate, and technical support for mobile & household devices are also available.
The requirements that you have to submit once you are officially enrolled in a microcredentialing program varies significantly. Since it can be granted by a certified learning institute regardless of your physical presence or location, there exist no formal requirements as a whole.
These are determined by the credential-conferring organization which means that not all microcredentials are created similar or with equal value.
Taking a program to earn a microcredential lasts from four consecutive weeks to 12 months. This depends on the skill or learning competency being developed with the expectations set by the learning institute.
Here are some of the requirements that you need to comply before your supposed date of graduation:
a. Submission of Assignments
Enrollees are asked to complete tasks outside the lecture time to show the theoretical learning or knowledge of the given field.
b. Attending Lectures or Web-based Seminars (Webinars)
The microcredentialing process includes attending lectures physically on a specified location or a digital seminar (webinar) where the learners are exposed to the latest research and developed ideas in the area.
c. Presentation of Work Portfolio
Earning a microcredential will require its students to present a polished portfolio relative to the subject or topic or a compilation of their direct reports to demonstrate their experience to the chosen program.
d. Pass the Assessments
Getting a passing score on written assessments or skill sets indicates the level of learning to further identify the areas that need to be improved through practice.
e. Participation in Conferences
Attending various National or International Conferences could be required by your chosen learning institute for you to have a larger outlook of your skill outside the company or the learning modules.
f. Application of your knowledge in a work set-up (internship)
Various microcredentialing programs require immediate internship on a real work set-up for you to see how much you can contribute to your company’s success from the program that you have taken.
15 Benefits and Advantages of Microcredentials
Once you are enrolled in a well-designed and cost-effective program for your microcredential, it can boost your technical know-how and mastery of a specified skill set.
Companies, employers, or organizations with portable and flexing microcredentialing process optimizes employee engagement and track your workforce development accurately.
1. Employee Personalization
A microcredential earned by an employee allows them to focus on the strong skillsets and overcome fear from their weaknesses.
Team members can be given the chance to choose a specific area where they are interested which they know would contribute to their employee productivity.
This allows the personalization of the training program where they can learn the field with ease, whether it is a large or a small organization. Instead of investing in a uniformly broad microcredentialing program for teams and departments, this can tailor the career goals and responsibilities as company staff.
2. Employer Personalization
The personalization that microcredentialing has to offer should also be applied to employers or any company organization. With the use of microcredentials, new hire training, and process knowledge assessments can be aligned with the company’s goals and practice.
For example, if you have chosen a reputable learning institution, you can fashion a data-based marketing credential that is based on the skill set of the employee carrying out the projects. It can be delivered as an add-on to the qualifications for hiring and promotion.
2. Brand Recognition
It is often a big challenge for companies to characterize and quantify the working experiences that an employee gained on the role after a year or so. With microcredentialing, employees can be given a duly recognition for the hard and soft skills that they have acquired during their stay with the company. It can even build a strong personal brand recognition once it is successful.
Most companies award marketing tier badges to the members of the marketing team who have showcased creativity on a recently executed project that brought success to the company. These innovative solutions offered by an employee should be recognized as it serves as the best example for outstanding employee performance.
3. Structural Approach
The structured learning approach that microcredentialing offers has been evident in how an intern’s performance reflects on his or her theoretical learning. Most of the skills that an employee acquires are not recorded in the resume or employee’s company record.
The incremental and flexibility of microcredentials that employees take gives a tool of measurement on their level of knowledge and skillset competencies. This can be used to evaluate which employees can take a higher role or position in the company.
4. Create Career Paths for Employees
As we have mentioned, both hard and soft skills can be learned through the microcredentialing separately or collectively. Soft skills that are essentially important in the workplace can be mostly developed individually so they can apply this to their hard skills needed for the job.
Once these skills are balanced, they can extensively leverage their capabilities that serve a beneficial value to the workforce. Most employees who have microcredentials can be promoted easily without going over their employee’s performance all over again for the months and years that he or she stayed with the company.
5. Flexible Demand for Learning
The extreme value of microcredentials to organizations and businesses maps the way for employees to meet the great demand for flexible continued learning on a lifelong basis. This means that you don’t have to switch jobs every 5 years and switch career fields twice every 10 years.
Using microcredentialing brings out the unique skill of each member of the workforce that makes them an indispensable part of the company. This needs to be accessible to any interested staff of a department for them to be recognized with the dedication of their lifelong journey for learning.
6. Competitiveness Across Multiple Disciplines
Microcredentialing can be used as a crucial tool for companies to ensure that their staff is skilled for the role that they take sufficiently across the disciplines. For example, the rise of dependence on information technology requires an accountant to learn the latest software to be used for better work efficiency.
This means that microcredentialing will allow businesses to build chunks of competencies across the disciplines or niche rapidly. Once a training program has been delivered that is targeted towards the capability areas, employees can commit to long-term based qualifications throughout their employment.
7. Boost Employee Engagement
Any company must maintain productivity and competitiveness in their respective organization or department. This means that employee engagement is a primary driver for profitability and business in the long run. Microcredentialing boosts the interest of a company’s employees in a cost-efficient manner.
If a company ensures that its staff is consistently updated with the latest trends and development in the roles that they are taking, they will desire to develop their skillsets for the future tasks and projects that they will take. This not only brings higher engagement levels among the employees but also to stay ahead of the game against the company’s competitors.
8. Scalability in Emerging Areas
The dynamism inside the business environments requires the training of old and new staff to quickly fill the emerging gaps in business. Whether it is driven by the market where the company is part of, the organization needs to equip its workforce for an opportunity in the market through services, products, or technology.
Traditional certificates earned by any employee or job aspirant take too long to be implemented or it may not cover the emerging trend. Microcredentialing offers a comprehensive manner to train the members of the workforce in those areas individually as quickly as possible. Once these opportunities have been filled out, companies can take advantage of the scalability and respond in these emerging market areas timely.
9. Fashion Special Skill Sets
Microcredentials can also fill the skill gap of any company or organization by requiring a member to apply two or three skill sets to formulate a new skill for the company’s benefit. The skill gaps can be easily identified once the employees undergo the microcredentialing process so that they can combine interdisciplinary capabilities to fill in a single role.
The granular approach of getting microcredentials fashions programs to address the gaps so they can develop soft skills that they have never learned before such as emotional judgment and progressive problem-solving.
For example, an employee can be trained to take the role of digital marketing analytics by combining the competencies of data analytics and digital marketing.
Fashioning a strategic content as an upskill is one of the effective methods to ensure that your branding is stronger against your competition. It is easier to connect with another person through digital communication channels than with a company or a business.
Remember that each media outlet available is in constant search for experts in their industry where you can get media requests to create a greater reach platform.
10. Capitalization on Workforce
Your microcredentials build your brand story, expertise, skillset, and values to create your competitive advantage that builds strong personal branding. If you can bring to the table what your competitors can’t, they will not have what you can offer.
Highlighting your unique brand opens more profitable methods to capitalize on your assets and strengths, especially your workforce. It can distinguish your company’s set of goals and actions against your competitors by making your market offerings exclusive to the needs and wants of your target audience.
This means that you are presenting yourself to the masses methodically. This involves the significant quantity of valuable content you demonstrate and share with the world. Hence, the more valuable content that you present is paralleled to your expertise in the niche. By doing this successfully, you can build trust with your target market as a leader and a thought expert in your arena.
This proves what value and benefits you offer as the go-to resource person in your respective industry. You can demonstrate and share through social media and video-sharing platforms so that more audiences will come to trust you for your creative solutions for their real-life problems.
If you will be known as an industry expert through your strong personal branding, your ideal audience can be drawn towards you. The ideal audiences that will be attracted to you are the ones who need your dynamic solutions through the products and services that you offer.
11. Deliver Convenience
Companies can send their employees for microcredentialing to pursue a major project that is new to the field. The incremental and scaling features of microcredentials can work effectively between the business preferences and the schedules of the employees so they can be trained conveniently. Then, the training can be designed for other employees around the project without any hassle.
The microcredentialing process allows companies to direct their resources and time when it’s most needed and appropriate without sacrificing the regular duties and responsibilities of each employee on their respective work schedules. New employees who will be handling the same type of project can work effectively.
12. Track and Measure Employee Capabilities
Streamlining the business through microcredentials provides an easy and effective way to allocate the skills of your employee appropriately. Since microcredentialing is delivered progressively through units, companies can track and manage the performance of the workforce at a single glance. This will keep their skill set updated and keep them attracted to the beauty of their roles.
Thus, microcredentialing cam plays a powerful role in the company’s human resource management. You can track the technical know-how of an employee from an enterprise point of view. It can quantify the skills needed for workforce planning and collating data to forecast the challenges that a business may face in the long run.
13. Skill Endurance
Staying ahead against business competitors means that employees are engaged, competent, and productive. The cost-effective solutions that microcredentialing has to offer maintain responsiveness in the demands of the market and competitiveness. This leads to the endurance of the skillset acquired by the employee as proven by their microcredentials.
Catching up with the revolution in the trends of computer technology and digitalization is a hard thing to do when the skills that you have acquired as an employee cannot endure on a long-term basis. Individuals who pursue microcredentials commit to keeping their professional advancement alive despite the market competition.
More individuals will have the desire to connect towards you when you work with a strong personal brand, both online and in-person. People can easily relate to you if you have the same personality, values, convictions, and mutual insights. This builds your business as it creates a bridge to your potential clients and customers.
14. Work-Life Balance in the Macrotrends
The rising demand for microcredentials came from the three global demands in the ever-changing industry.
- The first is known is the quick growth of the demand in tertiary education in fast-phased societies.
- The second is the large-scale digital transformation that takes place in the industries in businesses.
- Lastly, the strong digitalization of the sector in higher education adds up to the demand.
The changes create an exacerbating gap in the traditional skills from formal education. This range of skills that are needed can’t be provided in colleges and universities unless an individual decides to upgrade his skills voluntarily. Thus, the global expansion of the economic trends creates a need that needs to be filled by those who have earned microcredentials.
Since most of the microcredential programs are available online, professional career learning is no longer limited in the four corners of the classroom. A good internet connection and the dedication to learning should suffice in earning these digital certifications. Learners no longer need to compromise their dedicated time for their families and relationships while advancing their skill set for a professional career.
Examples of Microcredentials in Action
Here are some of the best microcredential examples to better understand the multi-faceted benefits of microcredentialing to any individual.
a. Microcredentials for Teachers
The microcredentials for teachers have responded to the challenge of obtaining a relevant, broadly accessible, and flexible professional career advancement training. It offers a strategy for teachers to widen and validate their methods of learning by receiving recognition after achieving milestones in the trajectories of their professional learning.
As one of the best forms of microcredentials examples, it is considered as an approach to professional learning while getting constructive feedback from an evaluator to earn recognition. Microcredentials for teachers break down the complex skills of instruction into fundamental parts where educators can hone competence through a bite-sized method of learning. Teachers can choose a single skill or what part of the skill would be most beneficial for their teaching practice.
BloomBoard, one of the well-known microcredentials platforms, has partnered with at least five universities that award microcredits to those who finish their program in various teaching methods.
For example, an enrollee can gain the ‘Checking for Understanding’ microcredentials for teachers if they finish the three separate units on how to use asking, teaching gestures, and using whiteboards.
b. Microcredentials in Higher Education
Microcredentials in higher education that can be obtained from state-recognized colleges and institutions are aligned with the teaching practices and standards initiated by the state itself. Most of its students are graduates of Education major in their respective focus areas from Mathematics, Science, Language, Technology, etc.
These microcredentials in higher education are stacked in an organized area of teaching that demonstrates their competency. The evidence required to earn a microcredential includes a video of classroom instruction, reflective essays regarding their teaching methods, and assessment of the theoretical learnings through written examinations.
Digital Promise is one of the best microcredentials platforms available for those who seek microcredentials for higher education.
They are offering a ‘Data Literacy’ microcredential by completing units on ‘Disaggregating Data’, ‘Setting Goals for College Students’, and ‘Creating and Evaluating Multiple Choice Questions on Written Examinations’.
c. Microcredentials for Business
Employees and entrepreneurs who earn microcredentials for business are based on a standardized robust blueprint that is grounded in the best designs for business practices.
Authentic business educators offer career advancement in the pathways of business organizations. It is one best microcredentials example that is taken seriously by companies to battle against strong market competition.
Various microcredentials platforms offer marketing strategic decisions where enrollees can learn how to deliver key strategies in business by effective procedures in decision making, task delegation, and data deliberation related to marketing. Software engineers who work for companies also take microcredentials for business to integrate their skill set to the demands of the business they want to work with.
The e-certificates or digital certification can be an advantage during job conversations or interviews with human resource specialists and employers about professional career advancement. Soft skills for business require at least three lessons or units per program while hard skills can range up to ten lessons before the completion.
For example, FutureLearn a leading microcredentials and eLearning platform has worked with top educators and experts to create specialized microcredentials and programs, such as:
- Artificial Intelligence on Microsoft Azure.
- Change Management.
- Cyber Security Operations (Cisco CCNA).
- Data Science: Data-driven Decision Making.
- Fundamentals of Digital Health in Hospitals.