What is Micro-Credentialing and Why Does it Matter to Your Students?

    Expectations have radically changed in higher education over the past several years. It used to be that students were fine with getting a broad education that would enable them to adapt and learn new skills when they entered the workforce, but today’s job market has changed that thinking. While on-the-job training through upskilling is quite common, job applicants that already have the skills necessary to succeed on day one have a leg up in the hiring process. According to Coursera, 76% of employers say they are more likely to hire a candidate who has earned a professional certificate or digital credential.
    calendar-plus-01 March 2, 2023
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    Given this new focus from employers, students today demand practical skills that will help them land a job after graduation and succeed in their career. Institutions that take pride in their graduate outcome statistics will need to consider how prepared their students are to jump straight into the workforce and make an impact. Because of this, many institutes of higher education are looking at offering students micro-credentials as a way for them to learn new skills and prove proficiency to potential employers.

    What is micro-credentialing?

    A micro-credential is a short, competency-based recognition that allows a student to demonstrate mastery in a particular area. These new forms of modular and short-form learning experiences provide flexible ways for students to learn practical skills—and give potential employers the confidence they have the right level of skills proficiency before they are hired.

    What is the difference between micro credentialing and credentialing?

    Digital credentials are verified, data-rich proof of competency. They allow anyone to quickly see and confirm that someone who has earned that credential can do exactly what they say they can do. Digital credentials are not the gamified version of achievement, but rather a snapshot of learning and achievement in verified form. In many cases, institutions of higher learning are partnering with private companies to offer students real certifications in a skill. It may be a computer science major earning a professional certificate from IBM in Data Science or a graphic design student getting certified in Creative Cloud by Adobe. Micro-credentials are a subset of digital credentials that allow students to learn specialized skills in a shorter period of time. This accelerated timeline allows them to earn micro-credentials in addition to traditional degrees.

    How can digital credentials help higher education professionals increase enrollment?

    Increasingly, students are making enrollment decisions on the marketability of the school’s degree in the workforce. According to Coursera, most students rank job opportunities as their top criteria in choosing a postsecondary path, and ranking a close second is the ability to develop real-world skills and increase earning potential. More specifically, students are 75% more likely to enroll in academic programs that include professional certificates. As students continue to make enrollment decisions based on job and career opportunities, colleges and universities will need to consider offering opportunities to learn real-world skills and show their newly obtained proficiency through micro-credentialing.

    How can digital credentials help higher education professionals better prepare students for the workforce?

    Providing opportunities to earn digital credentials in addition to traditional coursework can help students explore and learn skills required for a specific job role in their field and guide students toward a specific job path. These skills include coding, IT systems management, cybersecurity, or certifications in a specific product. The badges they earn can be added to students’ resumes or job posting profile and shared on LinkedIn or other career networking sites. Some micro-credentials prove proficiency as well. The ability to show prospective employers that they have more than just a cursory knowledge of a skill can move their application to the front of the line.

    How can I create a micro-credentialing program at my school?

    Today's students expect educational institutions to provide them with the tools they need to stand out with recruiters and succeed once they've entered the workforce. Learn how micro-credentialing can add value for your institution, your learners, and their future employers.

    Schedule a demo to learn more today.

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