I read the article “Micro-Credentials: Maybe the Future of Education” posted by Victoria Masterson on April 26, 2022 in Thinking. It has motivated me to think about job-seekers in India who are making efforts to get a job in the jobless market through their education and learning. To begin, let us know the backdrop of today’s job world as a dynamic entity. The job world is under the constant pressure of multiple forces that lead to constant alteration.
Technology, the market, climate and environment, economics, politics, and governance are constantly forcing job markets to stipulate new skills. Skill obsolescence has become a critical issue in job markets. Employers and employees are forced to respond to skills and knowledge obsolescence. Today, a job seeker needs to showcase his talents from multiple quadrants. The day’s job advertisement demanded a curriculum vitae (CV). On the strength of CVs, employers took almost 60 per cent of recruitment decisions. The CV might have some variations in ornamental or structural components. Most of CV’s design and content coverage are represented as macro-credentials.
Because of technological advancement and job market dynamism, job seekers must examine their micro-credentials in addition to their macro-credentials. As a consequence, students, learners, trainees, and professionals are now facing the challenge of developing macro and micro-credentials together. That means today, job seekers need to showcase their talents through the breadth and depth of learning with the support of learning for macro and micro-credentials. If a learner or competitor is unable to create his or her own balanced and dynamic macro and micro-credentials, he or she may be forced to compete in the front race on his or her back feet only.
Let us know the distinctions between the macro and micro-credentials. How do you enrich the macro as well as micro-credentials? How can an education and training system help in developing micro-credentials? These questions may be redundant, but they need to be taken care of.
Distinctions between Macro & Micro-Credential
To my view, both macro and micro credentials are nothing but learning credentials. After going through many idiomatic expressions, I found an interesting one is “taking the same advanced campus-style curricula and credentials established at post-secondary institutions that are valued and accepted by students and employers.” (1).In general, “macro-credential” refers to broad-based qualifications through a degree, diploma, or certification through an institution. In the age of distance learning mode, micro-credential learning lets learners (may be students, trainees, or professionals) become full-fledged learners by enabling them to earn complete, high-quality, career-advancing programmes from home, without having to step away from work or family obligations.
Micro-credentials are mini-degrees in which participants or learners complete activities such as taking an online test, creating a presentation(s), write-ups, assignments, or writing reports to demonstrate their performance. Micro-credentialing is considered the process of earning the credentials through a performance-linked study assessment that showcases the specific skills and talents in the specific areas. In the case of engaged employees, their micro-credentialing is considered a demonstration of expertise. The demonstrations of expertise are often reviewed by the panel of a team of experts to ensure whether their micro-credential is exactly representative of their hard work. After a review of anyone’s micro-credential, the digital badge is awarded to the credential holder. This digital badge then takes the form of a document or file that declares the learner or trainee has completed the qualification. The digital badges are created through learning gamification.
Crucial(s) of Macro & Micro Credentialing-as an Issue
Today, macro and micro-credentialing are on everyone’s priority list, for educators, learners, employers, and employees. Micro credentialing serves as yardsticks for learning competence. How much educators make their students competent and hard workers can be accessed through micro-credentialing. The micro-credentials (digital badges, certificates) showcase the student’s awareness of the current requirements of the job, or how much they are up-to-date in acquiring the job skills, whether they care about their competence or their causality. Micro-credentials can be used as complementary courses at the higher education level.
A learner can be an undergraduate but, by virtue of the micro-credential certificate, can become a specialist. The student can use micro-credentials as a tool for learning retention, maintaining learning motivation levels and remaining engaged in macro-credentials.
The overall benefits of micro-credentialing for students are as follows:
(1) it aids in the development of learning habits;
(2) it aids in career planning and sculpting; and
(3) career motivation.
Enriching micro-credentials by employees enables them to personalize their learning to boost performance as well as their career goals and responsibilities. Even if they change their jobs and career micro-credentials, it helps in building confidence and competence.
For employers, micro-credentials help in taking strategic human resource development decisions, especially in the areas of training design. Human resource management can leverage micro-credentials to measure and track enterprise skills and knowledge.
The following are the primary benefits of micro-credentials(2): (1) Accessibility(2) Global, (3) Flexible, (4) Short-Term, (5) Specialized, (6) Digital Badges, (7) Affordability, (8) Upskilling, (9) Competitive Edge, and (10) Age No Bar.
The critical importance of micro-credentials can be explored under the caption “Micro-Credentials: What They Are and Why They’re Valuable” (https://www.edalex.com/guides/micro-credentials-what-they-are-and-why-theyre-valuable # how-do-micro-credentials-benefit-institutions-of-h)
Global Universities for Macro & Micro-Credentialing
With new technology trends impacting the transformation of work patterns, all the individuals who are opting to engage in the job and those who are already engaged need to stay ahead of the competition. Rather than relying on traditional degrees, large technology companies are now using micro-credentials to train their employees in new technologies and skill sets. Big tech giants like IBM, Microsoft, and IBM are actively engaging in micro-credentialing (3). Now employers are looking to hire candidates who can handle the technological disruptions.
Many universities around the world are adopting flexible graduate and certificate programmes. A plethora of US universities launched advanced graduate certificate programmes in the areas of business analytics, marketing analytics, and digital marketing (4), and in the areas of information and computing. The other global micro-credentials operators are: The Open University, University of Kent, Monash University, Deakin University, and the University of Glasgow. As per the AASB blog article, almost half of the business schools are now offering micro-credentials. This trend is forging doubts about the future of traditional degrees in traditional universities.
Micro-credentialing in India
Indian education is putting its efforts into micro-credentialing. The Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore is participating in the race to create credentials through MOOCs and SWAYAM. The other institutes, like IITs and a handful of central universities, are contributing their micro-credentials sporadically in a few areas. Online platforms like uLektz and Course Era are offering short-term micro-credential courses to capture the trend.
The low engagement in micro-credentialing by Indian universities has added many researchable doubts. Whether the Indian universities and education platforms are conducive to micro-credentialing, the technological efficiencies are not sufficient to support the trend. Do UGC and the higher education ministry support micro-credentialing? Are the faculties of traditional universities trained enough to create micro-credentials? How many of the total enrolled students in a university are aware of micro-credentials?
All these questions indicate the ongoing emphasis on traditional macro-credentialing by the present system of education in India. The embedded guidelines in the New Education Policy 2020 openly emphasize micro-credentials. Unless the experts and teachers of the tertiary sector understand the importance of micro-credentials, there is less chance of developing micro-credentials to make students’ jobs fit. Making job-fits by institutions and by students themselves needs to capture the revolution endowed by technology.
Finally, I urge educational administrators, vice-chancellors, deans, professors, teachers, students, and policymakers to fully realize this movement for human resource development. To make a success of the efforts of the honorable PM Narendra Modi’s vision of “Atmanirbhar Bharat”, Indian students have to catch the learning revolution anyhow. Let Indian learners, educators, trainers, and technologists join hands to participate in this learning revolution by promoting balanced macro and micro-credentialing. As India needs to pull up the future wisdom economy by pushing the ongoing revolution of the knowledge economy, the learning revolution has to take the centrality of economics and education.
1 Owens, G. (2020), The Case for Macro-Credentials; accessed on 03/06/2022 at https://keypathedu.ca/resources/macrocredentials.
2 International Education Specialist, available at the following URL: (Accessed on 04/06/2022) https://www.idp.com/india/study-abroad/micro-credentials/
3 Prometric: Micro-Credentialing: The Future of Education, 6 December 2021, at https://www.prometric.com/test-owners/resources/micro-credentialing-the-future-education
4 Business because, in the URL: https://www.businessbecause.com/news/online-courses/7874/business-schools-microcredentials