Micro-Credentials and Badges
As the world advances with the evolution of fast-moving technology, humans must adapt quickly, especially in the work and career environment. Micro-credentials are becoming the reality for many students and adults. It is vitally important to upskill or reskill so that you stay relevant and qualify for jobs that pay you an affordable living wage.
What are Micro-credentials?
Micro-credentials allow one to learn and demonstrate competency in a particular area, usually coursework that is offered in a shorter duration (from a regular semester) from an organization or educational institution. They then receive a certificate or badge that is industry-recognized. For more information on micro-credentials, visit the Ohio Education Association. Other formats of micro-credentials are nanodegrees (specialized skills in Computer and Technology Science), digital badges, open badges (recognizes a variety of skills and knowledge), and micro degrees, (micro Bachelor’s and Master’s). These types of degrees or badges offer in-demand skills.
What are the different types of micro-credentials?
There are a plethora of micro-credentials that are being offered nationwide, the list below is just a few examples:
- Medical Terminology
- Professional Writing
- Human Resource Management
- Microsoft Excel
- Algorithms and Data Structure
- Cloud Computing
- Instructional Design
- Digital Marketing
What is a Badge?
A badge is a visual representation of your credential (much like a diploma or degree on paper). They are digital badges that contain metadata about you and evidence that the coursework you participated in with a certain institution is relevant and truthful, and that you have met the required criteria of the institution (just like a class you take for a grade or a report card). It can also hold other information such as URLs, issue dates, the badge image, and maybe even expiration dates.
Different Types of Badges
- Skill-This type of badge outlines a particular technical skill on a particular subject matter that allows a person to become an effective and productive employee and/or team member.
- Knowledge-A badge with specialized knowledge in a particular area, for example, health care, business, management, and engineering.
- Social or Life Skills-Focuses on health and wellness, civic engagement, and gaining abilities in cultural competence.
- Participation-Anything that you participate or volunteer in. (although some professionals question the validity of these badges and believe you should not be rewarded for just showing up. Some people called these shiny silly ribbons.)
- Identity-These badges contribute to identity development. They can enable someone to become part of a like-minded community, and this can work well for new students or adult learners who feel alone and set apart. Expertise can be developed and recognized, and it is possible that one could be identified as a key member of a particular community (think Marshall Breeding).
Our economy in the United States depends on individuals to acquire quality skills in order to stay competitive in the workforce. Our survival on the global platform depends on the creation and maintenance of a healthy work force. Future of Work Strategist, Heather E. McGowan, states that “digital transformation is simply human transformation.” She also states that “we as a nation need to shift from the idea that humans are a cost to contain into an asset to develop.” A radical transformation needs to take place in our society that recognizes the need for humans to evolve into fulfilling, decent paying jobs, and to make our society more self-reliant. For inspiration, watch:
- Future of Work Strategist, Heather E McGowan, shares her insights into the impact of the pandemic on the future of work
Higher Education is experiencing a decrease in enrollments because of crippling debt, the time it takes to complete a program, and the relevance of degrees. Many colleges and universities do not recognize non-credential coursework or experience to be transferred into degree-based programs, and this may need to change. Studies from Strada data indicate that over 65% of adults would rather participate in non-degree programs focusing only on what they need to upskill or learn. Many believe it is not necessary for people to get a college degree to advance in a particular field. Students need more than conceptual learning, they need hands-on problem-solving skills and real-world knowledge. Some Higher Education institutions are slowly coming to this realization and may need to come up with a solution to meet the demands and needs of employers. Miami University in Ohio has recognized this and is now offering a micro-credential program. See links below:
For more information on credit-hour transfer policies for Ohio, visit:
- Ohio HigherEd-Department of Education
From their website: The Ohio Articulation and Transfer Policy guarantees transfer for many forms of out-of-college learning including military, apprenticeships, career and technical education and prior learning assessments. It also outlines a competency based common core, stackable credentials, and associate to bachelor’s pathways.
- Individual Micro-credential Assistance Program (IMAP)
Offered through the Ohio Department of Development
From their website: What is IMAP? The Individual Micro-credential Assistance Program or IMAP helps Ohioans who are low income, partially unemployed, or totally unemployed participate in a training program to receive a credential at no cost.
Other sources on Micro-Credentials:
- Buckeye Institute
- Ohio TechCred
- Lumina Foundation
- University of Dayton
- Ohio Association for Career and Technical Education
- Benefits of Micro-Credentials
Other topics of interest