Microcredential. It’s a term that’s been around in continuing education circles in Canada for almost a decade, but one that has been thrust into the higher ed spotlight over the past two years. And, while microcredentials build upon the learning opportunities we’ve been providing in continuing education for decades, the pandemic brought a new wave of microcredentials to the post-secondary education sector.
What are Microcredentials?
Microcredentials are compact, high-quality, professional development learning experiences designed to teach you a specific skill or skillset that can instantly be put to use in your job or in your organization.
Here at CCE, our current professional microcredentials are made up of three badges, or micro-courses, each of which is a short learning experience of 14-hours in length. To earn the full microcredential, you’ll complete a set of three badges. Every badge you complete earns you digital verification of the skills you’ve acquired in the course.
We currently offer four Professional Microcredentials, with more coming soon:
So, How Can You Benefit From Microcredentials?
For those looking to grow in their career, or for employers and business owners supporting their teams’ professional development needs, there are many ways microcredentials can help.
Here are some of the benefits I think are most valuable:
Microcredentials Fill Skills Gaps
If you’re an employer in need of a specific skillset, you’ll be able to fill the gap through hiring employees with the skills you need or by investing in training for current employees, adding value to your organization.
Microcredentials Build Stronger Teams
Human skills, or soft skills, like managing stress, critical thinking, emotional intelligence and conflict resolution are in high-demand these days. The work environment has changed over the past couple years, and training through microcredentials focused on human skills can transform how teams work together. Employees will feel less stressed, be more efficient, communicate better and manage change more easily.
Microcredentials Provide Valuable Unique Skills
If you’re on the hunt for a new job, or even a new role in your organization, microcredentials show employers that you’re actively learning and developing professionally, making you stand out. Microcredentials are specialized, signaling to employers that you have unique skills to bring to the table.
You’ll Feel More Confident in Your Job
Picking up new skills in specific areas can be a huge confidence booster. Taking a badge or a full microcredential to gain a certain skill or group of skills can help you perform your job better and increase your productivity and success. Many of CCE’s students have benefited from badges that teach skills needed to navigate difficult conversations or to improve public speaking and presentation skills.
They Can Give You an Edge
Ongoing professional development through microcredentials can give you the edge you need to move up in your career. By developing specialized skills in areas related to your job–or the job you’re hoping to get–you’ll help demonstrate your ability to take on a higher-level position.
Skills Learned Can be Applied Instantly
Microcredentials are unique in the way they’re designed. They equip people with skills that can be used on the job right away. Employers will see quick improvement in job performance for employees who take this type of training.
You’ll Adapt to the Changing Business Landscape Easier
The business landscape evolves continuously and adapting to change is critical to long-term success for any organization. Microcredentials are developed with current and future skills needs in mind so organizations can get the training they need when they need it. This ensures organizations keep up with changes and adapt smoothly.
Microcredentials Can Help Your Business Stay Competitive
Not only is the business landscape evolving, it’s also getting more competitive due to a variety of factors like technology, entry of more competitors and movement of top talent. Organizations need to stay competitive by improving leadership quality among management, creating a positive and attractive work environment for staff to thrive in and building up valuable skills and knowledge among staff to achieve ongoing high performance and success. Microcredentials can help by providing staff training in areas of leadership, management, business communication and more.
Microcredentials are small but mighty. They pack a lot of value in a short learning experience that can open doors to new opportunities and lead to bigger and better things, be it a better career or enhanced business success.
Have you completed a microcredential in Canada since 2020? What did you think of it?
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About Christie Schultz
Christie Schultz is the Dean of the Centre for Continuing Education (CCE) at the University of Regina and a passionate proponent of lifelong learning.
Prior to joining the U of R, Dr. Schultz served as the Assistant Dean (Academic) at the University of Alberta’s Faculty of Extension leading the Faculty’s continuing education portfolio as well as its Learning Engagement Office.
Christie holds a PhD in educational policy studies, an MA in English and an MBA in public policy and management. Her scholarly interests include experiences and practices of leadership in higher education, care ethics in leadership and qualitative research methodologies, especially narrative inquiry.
Learn More About Our Programs:
Professional Development Funding Options
Canada-Saskatchewan Job Grant for up to $10,000 for employee training.
Re-Skill Saskatchewan Training Subsidy for 100% training cost coverage.
URAA Alumni Professional Development Award valued at up to $500.
Canada Training Credit for $250 per year (unused years carry forward).