Microcredentials have been recently recognised by the New Zealand Qualifications Framework as qualifications that are economically and socially relevant. But what exactly are microcredentials? It is a certain type of certification, which develops skill sets a particular industry recognises.
What differentiates them from the more typical degrees offered by higher education providers is that microcredentials are issued in small increments. Because of this, it is referred to as ‘informal learning’, since these short courses are flexible and smaller than your normal university degree. It’s affordable, targeted and relevant to its specific industry, so you don’t have to worry about doing a microcredentials course and leaving with something useless.
There are a few requirements that NZ microcredentials have to meet such as being 5-40 credits in size, not duplicate any sort of teaching that has already been approved by another tertiary education provider and must be reviewed every year to ensure their relevance.
What are digital badges?
Digital badges, also known as web badges, are proof of the professional skills that you learn from microcredentials courses. They can be shared on several social media platforms and can be put down on your resume.
It validates the skills and knowledge you learn from the course you’ve undertaken, along with connecting you to potential employers.
What are the types of skills that you learn from microcredential courses?
There are two broad types of specific skills that you can learn from these online courses: ‘hard skills’ and ‘soft skills’. Both are equally important for upskilling since you will need to have specific knowledge for your position and the more generalised skills are crucial for teamwork and to keep you working efficiently and effectively.
Professional skills that are specific to the industry and are required for the role such as data analytics, web developments and more.
General skills that you can use across many different industries such as problem solving, critical thinking, teamwork and more.
What does the micro-credentialing process entail?
Since micro-certifications are a type of qualification, short courses are usually the way to go. These courses can be described as a more condensed version of degree that a higher education institution would provide, and can take up to a few weeks to a year to complete.
So, just like a regular university or TAFE degree, you will have assessments or tests to do, watch lectures and seminars and demonstrate the skills you have learnt in a practical environment.
Some courses might require you to compile a portfolio to highlight your range of knowledge or attend and present in conferences. Perhaps your course might even be a combination of all the above. It entirely depends on the field that you’re interested in.
These microcredential courses are offered by a variety of institutions, such as universities, polytechnics, private training establishments along with employers and professional bodies partnered with tertiary education providers.
The perks of microcredentials
Microcredentials can make you more employable. It is as simple as that. Unfortunately, even if you complete your degree, there’s a good chance you’ll have trouble finding a job. This is where microcredentials come in, also known as ‘upskilling’. As the name implies, this increases the amount of transferrable skills.
So, if you gain microcredentials and then decide that the job you get isn’t right for you, then chances are, at your next job, your microcredentials will come in handy. That’s the beauty of these mini degrees.
When you complete a microcredentials course, what you learn can be applied to the other jobs you can get in the future.
However, if you do want leave your job and you find that you don’t have all the skills, a microcredential course can help you train for your new career. The best part is that, you can train without having to leave your job.
It’s not just students who can benefit from these microcredentials. For those who are already in the workforce, especially for workers who have remained in the same position for years, then it’s likely they’ve encountered changes, such as technological advancements.
Sometimes, it’s too hard to catch up, which is where microcredentials come into the picture. By completing a course in your field, you’ll close the skills gap, updating what you now through the learning experience provided by the course.
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