The new face of learning: micro-credentials and digital badges

By Matthew Newton, VETASSESS

We all accept that pursuing a career these days means a commitment to lifelong learning. 

Often that’s about acquiring skills in short “bites” – perhaps in a half-day course because you want to learn a new technology to enhance your marketing practice.

If you move into a new industry, you might do a course to improve your understanding of that industry or of a new market.

While the principles at the heart of marketing won’t change, the way you perform your job will.

With that in mind, VETASSESS and the Australian Marketing Institute (AMI) have partnered to develop micro-credentials and digital badges.

Micro versus long credentials

Micro-credentials won’t ever replace a degree, but they are complementary to longer-form learning.

As your career progresses, you can use micro-credentials to ensure your skills remain current.

A half-day seminar might help you to gain knowledge that is relevant to your current work but outside the realm of a marketing degree course.

You might enrol in a micro-credential course for a quick introduction to an industry that you have joined, or to gain a greater understanding of a client’s business.

Having a micro-credential listed on your professional site, email signature or website will signal your commitment to acquiring knowledge and staying up to date.

Educators have leapt into the micro-credential space in recent years, launching short courses aimed at busy professionals who want to upgrade or update their skills.

The courses are affordable and offer learners the opportunity to learn new techniques and technologies. Marketers, for example, can brush up on their knowledge of social media and design, or do some professional development in the use of data analysis.

These types of course keep our skills relevant and provide ideas for new opportunities in our practice.

Micro-credentials can be acquired through online learning, but that’s not always the case. Some people prefer to attend an evening or weekend course while for others, the virtual classroom is the only viable option.

Digital badges

A micro-credential is usually awarded with a digital badge, or a web-enabled version of the credential.

Anyone who clicks on the badge will be linked through to detailed information about the qualification.

This is becoming more valuable to both employers and candidates as the variety of courses and qualifications increases, because they can see exactly what was studied and understand why it’s important.

Clients, industry peers and potential employers can see what you have accomplished and the skills you bring.

The badges are particularly useful for people with qualifications gained abroad, when employers locally are not familiar with the qualification.

Digital badges and skills assessment

VETASSESS has worked with the AMI to create digital badges for people who undertake a skills assessment with us, often for migration purposes.

When our applicants receive a successful skills assessment, they receive an email with instructions for how to download their digital badge.

Posting the badge will increase their visibility to future employers and may help them find a job once they have completed their migration journey to Australia.

Who issues digital badges?

Our digital badges are issued through Credly, which provides a platform to host digital credentials for companies who provide them. Credly is the end-to-end solution for issuing and managing digital badges. Its platform is where the badges are issued from and where you can also read about, receive and share them.

While badges are simply digital image files, they are uniquely linked to data hosted on Credly’s platform. This link to verified data makes them more reliable and secure than a paper-based certificate. It also eliminates the possibility of anyone trying to claim a credential for the purposes of identity fraud.

Careers and micro-credentials

Who knows where our careers will take us? What we do know is that we will need to gain extra knowledge at every stage of our working life.  Sometimes that learning will have to be accomplished alongside our workload and family commitments.

Short micro-credential courses with an accompanying digital badge can spark our creativity in new directions and help us to keep our skills refreshed.

This article was contributed by Matthew Newton, Team Leader of Business and Finance at VETASSESS.

VETASSESS provides skills assessments for people who wish to migrate to Australia, including for the professions of Marketing Specialist, Advertising Specialist and Market Research Analyst.

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