Micro-credential Observatory

The Research Observatory on Micro-credentials (ROM) is a NIDL initiative in partnership with the ECIU University. The aim is to provide a curated and regularly updated collection of major reports, policy initiatives and research-related publications on the growth of micro-credentials in higher education and lifelong learning more generally. 

NIDL Activities

The NIDL is playing a leading role in helping to shape the rapidly evolving micro-credentialing movement, including:

• Strategic partnership with Digitary to support development of micro-credentials using this leading international platform

• Launch of credit-bearing, stackable micro-credentials on the FutureLearn platform

• Leading development of a new MOOC, "Higher Education 4.0: Certifying Your Future", on micro-credentials on the FutureLearn platform

HE 4

• Participant in €12.3m IUA-led Multi-campus Micro-credentials (MC2) project to establish a national framework for ECTS-bearing, quality-assured micro-credentials

• Leading and contributing to important ECIU University white papers on the future of micro-credentials

• Leading parts of a major work package related to micro-credentials as part of the ECIU University initiative 

• Contributing expert advice to the European Commission's Micro-credential Consultation Group

• Contributing to national and international events on micro-credentials including the MicroHE conference

• Hosting major global thought leaders and keynote speakers during the 2019 ICDE World Conference on Online Learning

NIDL Research

The NIDL is involved in several externally funded research projects investigating the growth and potential of the micro-credentialing movement, including:

• A major state-of-the-art literature review on the growth of micro-credentials for the European Commisison

• A Micro-credential Roadmap for Ireland: Currency, Cohesion and Consistency

• Micro-credentials: An Evolving Ecosystem - Insights Paper 

• European survey of Micro-credentials across ECIU University partners

• Investigation of Micro-credential design and delivery on the FutureLearn platform 

National survey of Micro-credentials in Ireland partnership with ICBE and Skillnet

• Leading a special issue of an international journal devoted to the micro-credentialing movement

• Publishing reports and journal articles based on our research on micro-credentials

• Preparing external funding applications for further research and development projects with external partners

Major Policy Initiatives

A collection of major policy initiatives related micro-credentials:

  2021 Alberta 2030: Building Skills for Jobs 2021 ESCO Skill -Occupation Matrix Tables
2021 European Commission Micro-credential Public Consultation Process - closes 13th July 2021 Micro-credentials and Bologna Key Commitments 2021 Micro-credentials Marketplace
2020 Towards a Multi-Campus Micro-Credentials (MC2) system in Ireland 2020 Final Report: A European Approach to Micro-credentials - Output of the Micro-credentials Higher Education Consultation Group 2020 Towards a European Approach to Micro-credentials - Analytical Report
2020 Micro-certifications: Policy and Regulatory Context in Ontario 2020 European Approach to Micro-credentials - Institutional Incentives to Develop and offer Micro-credentials in the EU 2020 A European Approach to Micro-credentials 
2020 European Skills Agenda   2020 A European Approach to Micro-credentials - Background Paper  2020 Micro-credentials Linked to the Bologna Key Commitments
2020 MICROBOL 2020 Europass Digital Credentials  2020 Europass Platform
2020 New European Skills Agenda 2020 Australian Government to Build Online Micro-credential Marketplace 2020 Canada's Higher Education Sector Selects Digitary 
2020 ECIU Towards a European Micro-credential Initiative 2020 Joint ETUC-ETUCE Position on Micro-credentials 2020 Joint ETUC - ETUCE Position on Micro-credentials 
2020 Malaysian Guidelines to Good Practices  2019 Review of Australian Qualification Framework  2019 EMC Common Micro-credential Framework 
2019 Malaysian Guide on Micro-credential 2019 UNESCO Global Convention on Recognition of Qualifications 2018 NZ Approval of Micro-credentials 

National & International Reports

A collection of national and international reports relating to micro-credentials:

2021 A Conversation Starter: Towards a Common Definition of Micro-credentials 2021  2021  
2021 An Analysis of 'Micro-credentials' in VET 2021 Micro-credentials for Labour Market Training 2021 TheMicro-credential Users' Guide 
2021 Position Paper by the Netherlands 2021 Shifting Paradigms: Understanding Institutional Perspectives on Microcredentialing 2021 State of play in the European Higher Education Area
2021 Paving the Road for the Micro-credential Movement: ECIU University White Paper 2021 Productivity Commission White Paper: Rebooting the Economy  2021 Skills Urgency Transforming Australia's Workplaces
2021 The Status of Microcredentials in Canadian Colleges and Institutes 2021 Making Sense of Micro-credentials  2021 Is the Future Micro?
2021 Colleges and Institutes Canada Micro-credential Framework 2021 A Micro-credential Roadmap: Currency, Cohesion and Consistency 2021 Micro-credentials Executive Panel Survey - HolonIQ
2021 Micro-credentials: Are they here to stay? 2020 Micro-credential and the Skills Agenda: Twelve Fundamental Questions 

2020 OpenCreds Framework

2020 Towards a European Approach to Micro-credentials: A Study of Practices and Commonalities  2020 A European Approach to Micro-credentials  2020 Micro-credentials: Trends in Credit Transfer and Credentialing
2020 Micro-certification Business Models in Higher Education 2020 HE for Lifelong Learners: A Roadmap for Ontario 2020 The Future of Ontario's Workers
2020 The Potential of Micro-credentials in Education 2020 Embedding Certifications into Bachelor’s Degrees: Certification-Degree Pathways Project 2020 Micro-credentials Mainstreaming Mid-career Skills Development
2020 Background Paper for EU Consultation Group on Micro-credentials 2020 Micro-credentials: An Evoling Ecosystem - Insights Paper 2020 Survey of Micro-credentialing Practice in Australasian Universities
2020 Lessons Learned Pilot Edubadges  2020 OECD Emergence of Alternative Credentials 2020 Recognition and Validation of Micro-credentials
2020 Recognition and Verification of Credentials 2020 Micro-credentials in the EU and Global 2020  Realising the Scope of Education through Credentialisation
2019 ACODE Micro-credentialing as a Sustainable Way Forward 2019 The Present and Future of Alternative Digital Credentials 2019 Value of Open Microcredentials to Earners and Issuers
2019 Making Micro-credentials Work 2018 Educational Credentials Come of Age 2019 Designing and Implementing Micro-Credentials
2019 MOOC based Alternative Credentials  2019 Micro-credentials in EU and Global 2019 Challenges & Opportunities of Micro-credentials in Europe
2019 Micro-credentials and Educational Policy in the US 2019 Digital Badge Credentials in the Irish Food and agri-food Sector 2019 EduTrends Alternative Credentials
2018 UNESCO Digital Credentialing and the New Learning Landscape 2018 Educational Credentials Come of Age 2018 Potential and Limitations of Micro-credentials
2017 Alternative Credentials 2016 Foundation of Digital Badges and Micro-Credentials 2016 The Promises and Challenges of Digital Credentialing

Useful Journal Articles, Books, Reports and Other Commentaries

A collection of published journal articles, books, reports and commentaries relating to micro-credentials:



2021 Micro-credentials will become Prevalent - Maybe even Preferred

2021 Mapping Microcredentials Across MOOC Platforms

2021 It's Time to Reboot our Thinking
2021 The Global Micro-credential Landscape: Charting a New Credential Ecology for Lifelong Learning

2021 Micro-credentials can Stimulate Diversity of Provision

2021 Gig Qualifications for the Gig Economy: Micro-credentials and the 'Hungry Mile'

2021 More Employers are Awarding Credentials 

2021 Madrid Micro-credential Statement

2021 Badgr: Micro-credential Scholar Series

2021 Credentials must be Stackabke, not Sleestak-able 2021 Microcredential learners need quality careers and employability support 2021 Digital Badges: Pinning Down Employer Challenges
2021 How and Why are Digital Badges being used in Higher Education in New Zealand? 2021 The Move to Micro-credentials Exposes the Deficiencies of Existing Credentials 2021 Online Degree and Micro-credential Market to Reach $117B by 2025
2021 Micro-credentials: Opportunity or Fad? 2021 Understanding Microcredentials: A Report from HEQCO - Tony Bates  2021 Toronto Workforce Innovation Group
2021 Microcredential programs on the rise in Canada 2021 Micro-credentials in Ontario - Alex Usher  2021 10 Key Actions to Ensure Micro-credentials Meet the Needs of Learners and Employers
2021 Analysing Micro-credentials in Higher Education: A Bernsteinian Analysis 2021 An Integrative Literature Review of Micro-credentials  2021 Micro-Credentials and Badges in Education: Historical Overview 
2021 Higher Education's Microcredentialing Craze 2020 Badge of Honour? An Exploration of the use of Digital Badges To Support a Partnership Approach to Faculty Development 


2020 Establishing and Sustaining National Partnerships in Professional Development and the Recognition of Open Courses in Teaching and Learning through Digital Badges
2020 Building Digital Capacity for Higher Education Teachers: Recognising Professional Development through a National Peer Triad Digital Badge Ecosystem 2020 Micro-credentialing: Establishing a Wyoming Framework - EdD thesis 2020 Recognition of open courses in teaching and learning through digital badges 
2020 Features and Affordances of Micro-credential Platforms  
2020 Building Digital Capacity for Higher Education Teachers
2020 The EvoLLLutions 2020 Year in Review eBook
2020 The Futures of Work: What Education can and can't do 2020 Future Impacts of Modularisation and Micro-credentials
2019 A Content Analysis of the Emergent Scholarship
2019 Value of Open Microcredentials to Earners and Issuers

2019 Instilling purpose and value in the implementation of digital badges in higher education

2019 MOOC based Alternative Credentials: What's the Value for the Learner? 

2019 The Evolution of a Micro-credential

2018 An exploration of the utility of digital badging in higher education settings

2018 Digital badges, do they live up to the hype? 
2018 Educational Functions and Design of Badge Systems: A Conceptual Literature Review 2018 Goal Setting and Open Digital Badges in Higher Education
 2017 Open Badges: A systematic Review of Peer-Reviewed Published Literature (2011-2015) 2017 The potential of digital credentials to engage students with capabilities of importance to scholars and citizens 
2017 To What Degree? Alternative Micro-credentialing in a Digital Age (Chapter 4)
2016 The Future of University Qualifications
  2015 Developing Open Badges: a comprehensive approach
2015 Micro-credentials, Nano Degree, and Digital Badges

Events, Conferences and Webinars

A collection of events, conferences and webinars relating to micro-credentials:

2021 Opportunities and Obstacles: Micro-credentialing in Higher Education - Video 2021 Using the Development of Micro-Credentials to Improve Diplomas and Degrees - Video

2021 Maria Kelo: The Big New World of Micro-credentials

2021 HEInnovate: The Role of Micro-credentials - Video 2021 EADTU Policy Forum on Micro-credentials and Short Learning Programmes - 28th May

2021 Micro-credentials and the role of External QA - Video

2021 The European Approach to Micro-credentials - Video 2021 Putting the Pieces Together 12 March - Video 2021 AI and Blockchain-enabled Assessment, 11 March
2021 IMS Digital Credentials Summit, 1-4 March 2021 Micro and Alternative Credentials - HolonIQ, 24 Feb  2021 Micro-credentials in the United States, 24 Feb
2021 The Missing Pieces - CoL, 23 Feb - Video 2021 ECIU University: A to Z of Micro-credentials, 22nd Feb 2021 Micro-credentials: Lessons from Australia, 2nd Feb
2021 ECIU Expert Event on Micro-credentials 28th Jan 2020 Microbol Kickoff Conference 2020 Global Voices on Micro-credentials
2020 MicroHE Conference Session A  2020 MicroHE Conference Session B 2020 MicroHE Conference Session C
2020 Certifying Your Future  2020 EURASHE Micro-credential Workshop  2020 Clicks Non Degree Credentials
2020 MicroHE Expert Panel Webinar 2020 Academic Portable Credentials with Digitary 2020 RIDE2020 Micro-credentials
2019 Better Credentials: Living, Learning and Earning in 21C 2016 Better 21C Credentials

2026 Learning is Earning Edubloc Video


MC Community

Microcredentials Sans Frontières

The Microcredentials Sans Frontières provides an open international network dedicated to cultivating a deeper understanding of the design, development, delivery, and effectiveness of microcredential opportunities across the learning lifespan. This open network was founded by Lena Patterson, Simone Ravaioli and Beverley Oliver. Watch the video below of Professor Beverley Oliver's keynote address on micro-credentials at the 2019 ICDE World Conference on Online Learning. 



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