Micro-digital Credential for VET
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Introducing Micro-Credentials
What are micro-credentials?Click to read

Originally a concept for higher, academic education. No official or agreed definition yet, but commonly referred to as

Limited time & area
referring to sharable learning over a limited time and/or in a specific area

Stackable over time
may form trusted and transparent addition to formal qualifications, adding to individual learning careers

Small & flexible
limited size and focus, thus more flexible for labour market needs and recognition of skills

Digital & international
frequently delivered and recorded in a digital or hybrid form and on international level for wider access

Definition by CEDEFOP based on OECD, EU Commission etc.

Awareness of micro-credentialsClick to read

Only employers are aware of micro-credentials in CEDEFOP study

  • National authorities:
    55% declared that they do not use the term micro-credential in their national context
  • VET providers:
    48% could not tell if micro-credentials are used in any form in their organisation
  • Employee organisations
    46% of employee organisations were not used to the term micro-credentials
  • Employer organisations
    27% of employers and their organisations did not know about the term micro-credentials
Benefits & Challenges of micro-credentialsClick to read

Compared to traditional forms of learning according to National authorities, VET providers, employer organisations, employer organisations

  • flexibility for specific upskilling and reskilling
  • responsiveness to labour market needs & needs of learners and employers
  • suitable for lifelong learning
  • improve employee motivation and retention
  • build a culture of CPD & work-life balance
  • ability to validate and recognise employees’ knowledge
  • short duration
  • Usable for large companies, industry associations, start-ups, online learning platforms, non-governmental organisations and international organisations
  • Help meet the EU’s targets for 2030 of 60% of yearly training for adults & employment rate of min. 78%
  • No clear definition
  • Do not provide basic employability skills for individuals
  • Not necessarily cheap


Outlook on further developmentsClick to read

Before 2021

  • Used in several countries e.g. Denmark under different names
  • Primarily for academic purposes


November 2021

  • European Commission: Proposal for a council recommendation on a European approach to Micro Credentials for lifelong learning and employability



  • Defining quality standards on a national and European stage including all stakeholders
  • Making them comparable in the EU
  • Potential use to verify training abroad



  • CEDEFOP Study including:
  • Mapping micro-credentials in European LM related education, training and learning
  • Micro-credentials and evolving qualifications systems
  • Micro-credentials and the added value for end users



Summing upClick to read

What are micro-credentials?
Small & flexible learning units, stackable over time. They cover a limited time & area, can be digital & internationally relevant.


Only employers are aware of them yet, although they are already used in several countries.

Include flexibility for upskilling and reskilling, responsiveness to labour market and learners’ needs, improved motivation and retention, validation and recognition.

Integration in NQF and assessment and quality methods have yet to be defined. EU resolution on its way.

TestTest Yourself
Micro-Credentials in Virtual Learning
Role of Micro Learning in virtual circumstancesClick to read

  • Small learning unit without bureaucratic burden & commitment of full training
  • Involvement of companies & businesses associations for tailor-made learnings at the learner’s convenience
  • Certification of additional voluntary online learning that is not covered by traditional VET regulations
  • Allows learners to choose their own learning pathways
  • Digitalisation as facilitator to teach skills where and when needed
  • Ensure quality in many digital offers of WBL
  • Learning settings can be any physical, online, blended, virtual and digital locations and contexts
Teaching & self-directed learningClick to read

Using micro-credentials in virtual teaching and self-directed learning to monitor and certify certain knowledge developments

  • Teaching use of new programmes or materials
  • Inform about megatrends specific to the sector
  • Less time investment/workload for bigger outcome and impact
  • Closer dialogue between company and training institution to close skills gap
  • Compliment general training flexibly with reactions to newly arising needs
  • Make use of digital offers (YouTube, podcasts, Moodle or MOOC) in a structured course
  • Orient new graduates & help them decide their learning path

Self-directed learning

  • Preparation before courses to ensure common knowledge base
  • Assist labour market transitions for new graduates
  • Add to qualification with knowledge from other  qualifications – also across levels in the VET system
  • Ensure inclusiveness of disadvantaged groups with additional training offers and certificates
  • Focus on the learning outcome regardless of place and time
Practical applicability of micro learningClick to read

What can micro-credentials be used for in virtual surroundings?

Teaching new skills
Including necessary skills that are not yet part of official VET professions while working

Teaching non-academics
Providing non-academics with a quality-assured, internationally recognized skillset

Teaching flexibly
Company specific needs for future tasks such as transformation, innovation, agility can be included

Teaching on point
Avoid long times in front of the computer but allow for short, on-point delivery with easier to develop material

Summing upClick to read

Role in virtual circumstances
Less bureaucratic burden & commitment, involvement of companies & businesses associations for tailor-made learnings, certification of online learning, choice of own learning pathways


Useful in teaching and SDL
Potential use: teaching new programmes or materials, compliment general training flexibly, orient new graduates, preparation before courses

Practical applicability
Teaching new skills, non-academics, flexibly, on point

TestTest Yourself
Assessing and certifying learning
Format of micro-credentialsClick to read

Prepare the micro credentials well to avoid over-supply and thus devaluation

  • Definition of learning outcomes
    Provide transversal skills: specific knowledge, skills, and competencies that respond to societal, personal, cultural, or labor market needs
  • Decision about delivery forms
    Make it accessible to all, including disadvantaged and vulnerable groups to ensure access to quality and relevant education throughout their lifetime
  • Link to credit systems
    National qualifications systems may partly prevent easy integration of MCs; may indicate that MCs are expanding outside formal QFs but need a solid credit base; communicate status of credential clearly
  • Quality assurance
    Quality check and updates are necessary to ensure a higher level of acceptance and relevance; make them scalable to adjust once Micro Credentials are picking up; accreditation; learning from best practices
  • Format: digital or paper
    Micro Credentials tend to be provided as digital or hybrid learning through existing or emerging platform solutions
Developing a course in small partsClick to read

What can micro-credentials be used for in virtual surroundings?

Focus on recovery skills
Knowledge, skills and competencies to recover after the pandemic and transition to a green, digital economy

Be at the forefront
There are hardly any blueprints, the concept is new, the EC’s plan is to establish it in the education markets by 2025

Include range of learners
Access to knowledge, skills and competencies for all, including disadvantaged and vulnerable groups

Strengthen the role of VET
Promote lifelong learning with flexible and modular learning opportunities in close cooperation with industry

Establishing certificationsClick to read

A document giving visibility & value to acquired skills and competences. Ensure to only award it after courses that need an assessment for completion & convey knowledge, skills and competencies.

Document with

  • name of the holder
  • achieved learning outcomes
  • assessment method
  • awarding body
  • qualifications framework level and credits gained

Use of the certificate

  • owned by the learner
  • can be shared
  • portable
  • may be combined into larger credentials or qualifications


Need for digital solutions for assessment, validation and storage of micro-credentials to ensure portability and scaling

Potential solution: Europass

Summing upClick to read

Preparing micro-credentials
Definition of learning outcomes, decision about delivery forms, link to credit systems, quality assurance, format: digital or paper format


Developing a course in small parts
Focus on recovery skills, Be at the forefront, Include range of learners, Strengthen the role of VET

Establishing certifications
Document with name of the holder, achieved learning outcomes, assessment method, awarding body, qualifications framework, level and credits gained, owned by the learner, shareable, portable, combinable into larger credentials, need for digital storage

TestTest Yourself
Test Yourself
TestTest Yourself


Attractiveness of vocational education and training (VET), Education and training policy, Education and training system, Future of VET, Reform&

  • Understand what micro-credentials are
  • Know about their current status
  • Be able to develop own micro-credentials
  • Analyse the potential to certify small learnings


The module will explain the concept of micro-credentials and give an overview about the current discussion surrounding them. It will show how they can be included in virtual VET and training, resulting in a timely, short update of knowledge in an accreditable form. Lastly, it invites learners to analyse the ways in which they can offer certified further training for pressing matters.


Bjornavoldand, Jenad & Pouliou, Anastasia, Experts DVQ, Cedefop, „Microcredentials –a new opportunity for lifelong learning? Initial findings from Cedefop project on Micro credentials for VET and labour market learning“. CEDEFOP Conference on microcredentials, 25.11.2021.

EU Commission, A European approach to micro-credentials. Output of the micro-credentials higher education consultation group, Dec 2020.

Eurochambers, „Take of European chambers of commerce and industry on a micro-credentials framework. Policy messages and examples”. CEDEFOP conference on micro-credentials, 26.11.2021.

European Commission.  Proposal for a council recommendation on a European approach to micro-credentials for lifelong learning and employability. COM/2021/770 final. European Commission, Brussels, November 2021.

HK Stat, “MICRO-CREDENTIALS - IN A DANISH PERSPECTIVE”, CedefopConference on Micro-credentials, 26 November 2021.

Husted, Bodil, VIA UC, DK, “The role of microcredentials in EU labour-market- related education and training”. Cedefop Conference, Microcredentials for labour market education and training, CedefopConference on Micro-credentials, 25 November 2021.

McCoshan, Dr Andrew, Member of the PPMI Project Team, „Microcredentials for labour market education and training“. Parallel Session 2: Interaction of microcredentials with existing qualification and certification systems. Cedefop Conference 25-26 November 2021.

Reddy, Julie/SAQA, “Is There a Place for Micro-credentials in the SA NQF?”, CedefopConference on Micro-credentials, 26 November 2021.

CEDEFOB: Micro credentials for labour market education and training | CEDEFOP (europa.eu)