REPORT: Micro-Credentials

MICRO-CREDENTIALS: Trends in Credit Transfer and Credentialing

Prepared for BCCAT by Joanne Duklas
Published November 2020

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This report provides insights into current micro-credentialing practices, motivations, and perspectives at Canadian higher education institutions and beyond. The environmental scan, the pan-Canadian survey as well as expert interviews highlighted the need of establishing shared definitions that fit the purpose intended.

The survey identified a few institutions, including some in British Columbia, that recognize micro-credentials for admission and credit transfer. “Certificates” was the most common term that was used by both the BC and ON respondents when referring to micro-credentials awarded to students.

Institutional respondents indicated that the top motivator for offering a micro-credential was to support access to future studies. This suggests an opportunity for institutions to align the purpose of micro-credentials for admission, credit transfer, and stackability.

The report highlights several promising exemplars both from within Canada and internationally, for example, Thompson Rivers University micro-courses, Simon Fraser University’s FASS Forward microcredit courses, Algonquin College’s comprehensive Micro-credentials Framework, and the New Zealand Qualifications Authority’s system.

Demonstrating quality and future transferability represent fundamental design principles for micro-credentials to be used for admissions and credit transfer. In general, the purpose of a proposed micro-credential should drive its design. An implementation checklist for micro-credential design is provided in the report.

For a quick overview of key findings, check out the infographic below: