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How micro-credentials support professional upskilling

National Manager Learning Design
PMI
3 mins

How can training support individuals to upskill in small, meaningful and diverse ways? How can online courses focus on aligning current business needs with internal skills? And how can individuals remain future-fit long after they obtained their original degrees or diplomas? 

Micro-credentialing may be a flexible way of recognising knowledge, skills and competencies, especially in industries where there is a pronounced need for rapid workforce development. 

To date there appears to be no common definition of what micro-credentials are, although of late there have been efforts to establish one. Most notably, UNESCO (UNESCO | Building peace in the minds of men and women) has started a conversation towards a common definition of micro-credentials, which you can find in a draft preliminary report put out in September 2021.  

It seems that micro-credentials are most commonly understood as “typically focused on a specific set of learning outcomes in a narrow field of learning and achieved over a shorter period of time.” 

Micro-credentials are certifications in a specific area of expertise and they document a person’s knowledge and skill. For example, a micro-credential outcome could be learning how to execute key business strategies through effective decision making, deliberation, and delegation. It can also be more specific than that, such as building an app for the Android operating system.

Whether an individual is focusing on a soft skill or a technical skill, micro-credentials are an excellent way to stay ahead in a rapidly changing world.

 

For the love of learning

During the last two years things in our learning ecosystem have begun to shift fundamentally. According to the World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs report, the most in-demand specialties and occupations in 2020 did not exist 10 or even five years ago. This pace of change is only set to accelerate. In fact, the report anticipates that 65% of children entering primary school today will end up working in job types that don’t yet exist – and will most likely be the result of automation. 

We can’t predict the future or what these jobs will be, but as individuals and employers, we can foster a growth mind-set that embraces the idea that it’s not only meaningful, but it can be extremely enjoyable as well, to consistently learn new skills. 

 

The role of micro-credentials in today’s workforce

So, where do micro-credentials fit in? Micro-credentialing is an efficient way to upskill and/or reskill the workforce. 

To earn the credential, mastery of the skill must be demonstrated, and the more micro-credentials a person has, the more marketable their professional portfolio becomes. Also, the  demonstrated ability to learn and adapt is a very desirable trait in an employee.  

Another benefit that is particularly powerful is that professionals can map their own learning pathways and earn a micro-credential while fitting acquisition of new skills into a busy schedule.   

 

Future-fit training strategies

PMI has more than forty years of experience supporting professional development and we  recognise that there is no single learning solution for businesses or individuals. In a rapidly changing business landscape, acquiring new skills should be just-in-time, flexible, and fit-for-purpose.  

PMI is leveraging the trend in micro-credentialing and has partnered with a global leader in corporate digital learning, offering an immersive learning platform designed to make learning easily accessible and relevant. Micro-credentials can be used to complement a person’s existing qualifications and/or to provide an alternative route, to the traditional route, to acquiring new knowledge and skills. And digital badges can be earned and shared across social media platforms, a powerful way of celebrating and rewarding learning and skills development. 

Nelson Mandela famously said, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” We agree, and we propose that micro-credentialing, done well, can be a force for good change by fostering a growth mind-set. 

Contact us to explore the micro-credentialing trend further and how we may partner with you to leverage it for the benefit of your workforce.  

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National Manager Learning Design
PMI

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