Unlock Success: Transform Organizational Training with Micro-credentials – Digital Promise

Unlock Success: Transform Organizational Training with Micro-credentials

March 28, 2024 | By

The employment landscape is experiencing continuous transformation as organizations adapt to evolving trends, marketplace demands, and technological advancements. Learning and development are critical to foster upskilling and reskilling to match dynamic workforce needs. Employers are recognizing that learning does not always translate to the ability to perform skills in the workplace. As a result, organizations are more interested in what people can do than what courses or training they have completed.

A micro-credential is a digital badge that a person earns when they successfully demonstrate a specific skill or set of skills through a competency-based assessment of a portfolio of evidence. Organizations can use micro-credentials to recognize and certify that someone is successfully demonstrating specific skills. As constraints on time, money, and resources impact how prospective employees acquire skills, competency-based micro-credentials have emerged as a flexible way to recognize discrete skills.

Digital badges adhere to the 1EdTech Open Badges standard, which means that they are verifiable, shareable, and contain information about the achievement and what the recipient did to earn the badge. Further, this standard allows the recipient perpetual access to a badge they can share with anyone anytime.

Several organizations currently provide a wide array of learning opportunities through onboarding and training programs, on-the-job training, and coaching. Many training programs rely on attendance, completion, or automated knowledge assessments to track progress. However, progress monitoring for on-the-job training or coaching varies greatly on how it is tracked depending on the skill. Often many skills are evaluated as part of performance or promotion evaluations.

The question becomes, where can micro-credentials add value to the existing organizational training and evaluation systems for both employers and employees? Here are three easy ways micro-credentials can be added to your current learning and development programs:

  1. Add a micro-credential to an existing training program: Micro-credentials can be added to existing training programs, by taking existing knowledge assessments and updating them to competency-based assessment using micro-credentials. An organization can identify the key skills and validate these skills with micro-credentials. A quality implementation would identify the evidence needed to demonstrate the skill and allow people sufficient time and opportunity to practice and implement the skill. When they have successfully collected the necessary evidence, they can apply for and earn a micro-credential. This method ensures that learning is translated into effective application.
  2. Add a micro-credential for organization-wide competencies: Many organizations have identified key skills that staff need to be successful, and which often transcend job roles and levels. These skills often include communication, collaboration, creative thinking, and many others. While more challenging to quantify, an organization can determine how these skills successfully show up in the workplace and use micro-credentials to encourage staff to gather evidence to support their ability to demonstrate them. This method elevates organizational-wide competencies and provides equity in how all staff are evaluated for effectiveness.
  3. Add a micro-credential for skills that are already being observed: Many workplace skills often include embedded observations or evidence collection to ensure quality, safety, and effectiveness. In many cases, these observations have performance assessments that include rubrics for evaluation. For example, these types of performance assessments might be a part of quality assurance, safety, and professional development programs. An organization can easily issue micro-credentials to certify that a person has been successful in demonstrating relevant skills. This method adds value to an existing competency-based process.

Once organizations identify how to leverage micro-credentials, the next step is to select how to curate your micro-credential ecosystem. There are three methods to do this:

  1. An organization can find and integrate existing micro-credentials, especially if they are aligned with your current learning and development programs.
  2. Micro-credentials can be co-developed with a partner who can support the development of high-quality and organizationally aligned micro-credentials. This option leverages the organization’s skill expertise and the micro-credentialing partner’s competency-based assessment knowledge.
  3. An organization can develop and issue its own micro-credentials if they have the technical systems in place to award digital badges. This option is usually the most time- and cost-intensive and is favored by large organizations.

There are several benefits to an organization choosing to leverage micro-credentials including:

  • Elevating the ability to demonstrate skills effectively throughout the organization.
  • Supporting consensus on skill competency since everyone will be evaluated in the same way.
  • Providing staff with the benefit of gaining skill recognition while earning a micro-credential that they can share with anyone.

Together, these benefits can support an organization in translating their training into visible changes in professional performance and development.

Digital Promise has been a pioneer in competency-based micro-credentials and has more than 10 years of experience in supporting organizations with their micro-credentialing needs. If you are interested in learning more about micro-credential services, please reach out to us at microcredentials@digitalpromise.org.

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