Micro-credentials are short, educational courses that are designed to equip participants with knowledge and skills that can prepare them to take on new job opportunities.
Over the past year, micro-credentials have seen a surge in popularity, with more variation emerging in their form and how they are defined. In an effort to help support the value micro-credentials offer to both learners and employers, several organizations have conducted research to help provide a clearer definition, guidelines and understanding of the current role of micro-credentials in Canada.
This research shows that several factors have contributed to a growing interest in micro-credentials, including the demand for new skills in the fast-paced technology sector, post-secondary education’s shift online due to the pandemic and the need to quickly address labour shortages.
Micro-credentials help individuals learn new skills, take on more responsibility and new opportunities, and attract employers. The resources below demonstrate the value of micro-credentials as well as help jobseekers and career practitioners understand how micro-credentials can benefit employees and employers.
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Defining micro-credentials and forging a new path for lifelong learning (CareerWise) [Blog post]
In this article, written by the President and CEO of Colleges and Institutes Canada (CICan), Denise Amyot shares some of the results of CICan’s environmental scan of the micro-credentials landscape in Canada. She explores some of the benefits micro-credentials offer to both employees and employers, the role that continuing education providers play in developing micro-credentials and the role micro-credentials currently play in Canada.
Everything you need to know about microcredentials (CourseCompare) [Article]
In addition to outlining specific scenarios in which someone might benefit from micro-credentials, this article covers the following topics:
- Different kinds of micro-credentials
- Canadian programs offering micro-credentials
- The “stackability” of micro-credentials
- The role micro-credentials may play in the future of business
The future of work in Canada: 5 emerging sectors to watch (CareerWise) [Blog post]
Micro-credentials are one of five topics featured in this blog post about emerging sectors that may shape the future of Canada’s labour market. In the short section entitled “Micro-credentials and alternative education,” the article explains that especially because of the pandemic, an increasing number of students are considering alternative education routes, with the tech industry being particularly open to alternatives to a four-year degree. While this article only briefly covers the subject of micro-credentials, it is useful in helping to show some of the factors that are fuelling an interest in these specialized courses.
Is the future micro? (The Diversity Institute, eCampusOntario and FutureSkills Centre) [Report]
The Diversity Institute (part of Ryerson University), eCampusOntario and FutureSkills Centre teamed up to create this report designed to shed light on the growing role and potential of micro-credentials in Canada. The report covers the following topics:
- Key concept: Lifelong learning
- Micro-credentials around the world
- Micro-credentials in Canada
- A framework for micro-credential development
- The project: Is the Future Micro?
Also useful is this article by Ryerson University, which provides a summary and highlights of the report.
Making sense of microcredentials (Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario (HEQCO) [Article]
To help bring clarity to the subject of micro-credentials, the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario (HEQCO) teamed up with a few other organizations to survey 2,000 working-age Canadians, 201 employers and 161 representatives from 105 post-secondary institutions across Canada. HEQCO’s resulting report attempts to shed light on the world of micro-credentials by providing a clear definition as well as information regarding the value these courses offer to students, post-secondary institutions, employers and the government.
Microcredential programs on the rise in Canada (University Affairs) [Article]
This article provides a useful summary of HEQCO’s report Making sense of microcredentials. This article explores the following aspects of the report:
- How HEQCO sourced its information
- The role educational institutions play in offering micro-credentials in Canada
- Key findings
The Status of Microcredentials in Canadian Colleges and Institutes (Colleges & Institutes Canada) (CICan) [Report]
To help support the growing demand for micro-credentials in Canada, Colleges & Institutes Canada (CICan) consulted stakeholders across the country and came up with a standard definition and national framework. CICan also formulated guiding principles that can help create consistency in how educational authorities shape micro-credential programs across the country. The resulting report can be downloaded for free from CICan’s website.
Ten facts you need to know about micro-credentials (TeachOnline.ca) [Article]
This article presents 10 useful facts regarding micro-credentials, including:
- Specific examples of institutions and organizations that offer micro-credentials
- The difference between micro-credentials and badges
- Stackable credits
- Tax credits
- What employers are looking for