6 Reasons Why Higher-Education Institutions Should Start Offering Microcredentials

As the world demands more skilled professionals, education must evolve and provide the knowledge that people will need when entering the job market. Not everyone wants to (or can afford to!) join a full-time program or enroll in a degree that will take them at least three years to complete. Demand from today’s learners is shifting towards a shorter, more precise, and skill-based learning experience: microcredentials.

Microcredentials have become the standard form of certification for online education, as evidenced by the thousands of schools offering coverage for a wide range of industries. This trend has also reached higher-education institutions. Several universities and colleges state they either already offer microcredentials or they’re planning to incorporate them in the near future. Shorter, skill-based programs are taking the lead in today’s learning market.

In this article, we’ve listed some of the key benefits of microcredentials for educational institutions. We’ll also look at how to leverage them to offer students a better educational experience.

Benefits of Microcredentials for Higher-Education Institutions

There are many reasons why bite-sized chunks of learning can have an elephant-sized impact on both students and institutions. These are some of the main benefits for higher-education schools:

1) Simplify Course Production

Microcredentials can be described as condensed, competency-based certifications. They involve smaller learning modules delivered over shorter periods than traditional education.

One of the advantages of this method is that it’s easier for institutions to produce: there’s simply less content required, compared to a traditional degree. Then, implementation can be made even easier by using a customizable learning management system that provides all the space you need for your content.

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2) Complement Your Full-Time Programs

The courses that institutions already offer can be improved by adding skill-related microcredentials. Traditional education will remain an essential and relevant system. However, it’s predicted that it won’t be possible to meet future education demands if traditional education is the only option available.

In this scenario, microcredentials work as an additional, alternative, and complementary certification that can fill the gap. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development concluded in a study that microcredentials have the potential to complement some types of post-secondary qualifications. This is because they can provide students with faster and more affordable programs to gain the desired knowledge and skills.

3) Reach a New Market of Students

Microcredentials speak to a wider audience of prospective students, and not only to those considering long-term education. Short-term-focused programs can appeal to:

  • Students already enrolled in an academic degree
  • Working professionals desiring to expand their knowledge
  • Adults with no higher-education degree looking to forge a new career path

A game changing aspect of microcredentials is that they allow learners to apply their knowledge immediately. In today’s highly competitive, constantly changing world, professionals seek quick and quality education that can help them gain an advantage in the job market.

4) Become More Accessible

Accessible education ensures that learning programs meet the needs of students regardless of their background, as well as students with disabilities.

In a study about how students perceive microcredentials, the participants frequently mentioned accessibility as one of the main motivating factors for choosing this kind of certification. The flexibility of this format offers new opportunities to disadvantaged groups who cannot afford a full-time program. The students surveyed also added that microlearning helps them acquire the skills they need without a significant time and money investment.

5) Offer Personalized Career Paths

Microcredentials can be stackable, meaning that an individual has the benefit of choosing which badges to obtain to forge their own career path. When an institution offers several microcredentials that are skill or industry-linked, it gives the student the chance to adapt their education to their career goals.

Microcredentials allow institutions to give students autonomy and control over their learning journey after obtaining their academic degree, whether that means upskilling or reskilling to meet job market needs.

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6) Meet a Growing Market Need

According to a study from the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario, Canada, employers have greater confidence in applicants with a relevant microcredential for a particular skill. Moreover, they mentioned that microcredentials help fill technical and skills gaps within the market that sometimes traditional education lacks. Students also share this perception.

The study also states that earning microcredentials while still in college can help candidates build a more robust resume. Finally, it predicts that microcredentials will gain greater relevance in the years to come, making it essential for higher-education institutions to start offering them as part of their programs.

Getting Started

The first step toward offering microcredentials in your higher education institution is to find the right LMS for your educational needs. Open LMS is an open-source technology where you can create customized, branded, and engaging microcredentials.

Request a free trial to learn more about working with the world’s best LMS.
Joanna Perdomo
About the author

Joanna Perdomo

Journalist and content writer with a background in technology and culture. Passionate about helping people understand online education and learning technology through easily digestible materials.

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