A young woman in all white karate attire with a black belt standing next to a white wall
Credentials allow you to evidence your expertise.

Credentialling your expertise

Digital micro-credentials offer learners greater flexibility and choice over their educational pathway. In this article, Trina Jorre de St Jorre explains what credentials are and how they can be designed and shared to enhance your employability.

Credentials are signals that warrant learning or validate capabilities.

Educators warrant that learners have demonstrated learning outcomes at or above the required standard; learners use them to communicate their achievements and employers use them to make decisions about the suitability of job applicants.

Types of credentials

Traditional macro-credentials – such as degrees – have been conferred for centuries. Increased demand for higher education and technological advancement has led to the rapid expansion of the types of credentials on offer in the 21st century.

Learners can now also gain and use micro-credentials to upskill, differentiate themselves in the employment market or to earn entry or credit towards further education.

Some universities now offer opportunities for students to gain micro-credentials in addition to their degree (Deakin Hallmarks are one example).

They may also provide opportunities for other individuals to gain credentials that verify achievement outside of formal study (such as Deakin’s Professional Practice degrees).

Digital micro-credentials

Digital micro-credentials have emerged as a way of communicating more detailed evidence of achievement to a broader audience.

When issued through a compatible platform, digital micro-credentials can be used to provide individuals with detailed evidence of achievement that can be shared through digital CVs and social and professional platforms (like LinkedIn and Twitter).

Digital micro-credentials offer learners greater flexibility and choice over their educational pathway. However, the credentials on offer are highly variable, and differentiating between their value, quality and integrity is important to both learners and employers.

The value of any credential is dependent on the integrity of the assessment task and judgements made. The public sharing of digital credentials means that the achievement and assessment conveyed are open to scrutiny by a much broader audience.

So, where digital credentials are designed to enhance employability, it is imperative that the achievement is meaningful and the assessors are credible.

Validation of micro-credentials

To ensure that they evidence meaningful achievement, both of the above strategies have the following design principles in common:

  • They focus on skills not just knowledge
    It is clearly no longer sufficient to focus solely on the development of discipline-specific knowledge and contexts. Individuals need to develop a broad transferable skill-set that can be applied to whatever opportunities they seek or find in the future.
  • They require demonstration of distinct and personalised achievement
    It is unique experience and achievement that differentiates individuals in the graduate employment market, so credentials have more value where they allow individuals to integrate and draw on learning and achievement from all aspects of their lives.
  • Achievement is assessed by industry and academic experts
    Where assessment is distinct and personalised judgements must be made against broad and holistic standards, the credibility and experience of assessors is important to ensuring that the judgements made are valid and fair. For this reason, Deakin Hallmarks and Professional Practice credentials are assessed by approved and relevant industry and academic experts.
  • Achievement is validated through a digital credential
    Detailed information about the context of achievement, including: the standards and criteria for assessment, the evidence submitted, and the identity of the assessment panel, can be made transparent through a digital credential that can be easily shared to validate achievement.

Your task

Think about a credential that you have or are aware of (or perhaps even a credential you would like to have).

  • Does your example recognise achievement in skills or knowledge?
  • Is the achievement recognised as meaningful and why?
  • What opportunities are there to share or validate that achievement?

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This article is from the free online course:

Career Credentials: Evidence Your Expertise in Problem Solving

Deakin University

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