THE IMPORTANCE OF MICRO-CREDENTIALS
As regular upskilling is recognised as being essential for the future, micro-credential has become an increasingly popular and accessible option for those who support lifelong learning and want to stay relevant in the workforce. So, what are micro-credentials and why are they so important for both businesses and employees?
What are micro-credentials?
Micro-credentials, also known as digital badges, nano degrees or micro-certifications, are short professional qualifications that demonstrate skills, knowledge, and experience in a particular industry area. They are often gained by completing short, free or low-cost online courses.
While traditional, long-form education is more generalised, micro-credentials focus on smaller elements of learning. These “bite-sized” chunks can help formalise soft and hard skills attained at work such as teamwork, critical thinking, problem solving, communication skills etc.
Earning a micro-credential can take from a few weeks to a year, depending on the qualification and course modules. Online training and assessment can be delivered in a variety of methods such as: assignments, seminars, lectures, portfolio of work, tests, skill demonstration in work setting etc.
Why are micro-credentials important to both businesses and employees?
According to the white paper Soft Skills for Business Success by Deloitte, two-thirds of all Australian jobs will be soft skill intensive by 2030. Yet, there is still a huge gap between demand and supply in today’s job market. Nearly a quarter of employers in the white paper report having difficulty recruiting entry-level positions with sufficient soft skills.
That is when micro-credentials prove their importance. These mini certifications allow employees to quickly obtain and showcase essential skill sets, while employers can identify and certify the skills most needed in their organisation.
1. Personalisation to specific demand
Micro-credentials give employees the opportunity to choose and focus on an area of interest to them. Businesses also tailor clusters of micro-credentials to individual staff members to suit their career goals and responsibilities. The training and assessment can be integrated to on-the-job projects to further personalise the outcome and delivered knowledge.
2. Recognition for soft and hard skills
Employees take benefit from recognition for their soft and hard skills, but it is quite challenging to characterise, showcase and qualify the knowledge they have gained on the job. While traditional qualifications focus heavily on technical, hard skills and offer no solution to soft skills, micro-credentials give employees the best of both worlds. You can easily enroll in a short course of public speaking, leadership or problem solving.
3. The demand for flexibility
Statistically, employees tend to change job every 4.5 years and switch career several times during their working time. This requires a flexible option like micro-credential to make ongoing, continuous learning more accessible. The flexibility micro-credentials offer to organisations and their training programs can be extremely valuable. Micro-credentials can be designed from scratch by the business, and they can be delivered in various methods.
4. Preparing employees for multi-disciplinary roles
Micro-credentials are the ideal option for organisations to prepare and upskill their staff members for multi-disciplinary roles. They can deliver training programs in highly targeted subject or area without committing to long-term qualifications. For example, IT and digital skills are now much needed in all departments, or administrative employees are increasingly required to demonstrate customer service skills. That is not to mention the ability to combine and deliver related skill sets such as teamwork together with problem solving, emotional intelligence and communication skills.
5. The ease of scalability
Micro-credentialing is a highly scalable approach to training employees. Whether it is for a large or small organisation, employees can undertake training programs on an incremental basis instead of committing to a large-scale training program. Businesses minimise immediate costs, assess the effectiveness of each micro-credential and refine your approach with additional micro-credentials.
6. Measure and tracking capabilities
Micro-credentials give businesses a streamlined, easy-to-manage way to allocate training to staff and evaluate their online learning programs. Because micro-credentials are delivered on a unit-by-unit basis, both companies and staff could find it easier to manage and track training programs at work.
Micro-credentials support businesses in quantifying skills for planning purposes and collating useful data on employees’ skills. For example, the data can be used to manage HR supply, forecast resource needs and training gaps, as well as formulate effective HR strategies.
Courses4me is a new age online education company, with decades of experience in both the public and private education space. Our founders have a combined 27 years’ experience in education and training and have come together to provide quality and affordable education for everyone that is looking to upskill.
Courses4me has established a high level of respect in academic circles within a range of disciplines in Australia and beyond. The courses are recognised by The International Approval and Registration Centre (IARC) – a dynamic, non-profit association with headquarters and administration centre in Queensland, Australia.