Business & Finance

Three tips on adopting micro and digital credentials

Tertiary educators in Australia, including Registered Training Organisations, are increasingly considering packaging the knowledge and skills they deliver into a digital credentials program.

The problem is digital credentials can be confusing. Are there some tips to make starting simpler?

Educonomy founder Matthew Dale joined ReadyTech for a webinar on this subject. Charting the shift toward bite-sized online learning he argued educators should consider digital credentials.

“We are in the midst of an Uber-like disruption of tertiary education in Australia. Education providers should be asking what the use cases are for digital credentials in their organisation.”

You can view and listen to the full recording of the ReadyTech webinar. 

Here are three of Matthew Dale’s top tips for tertiary educators considering digital credentials.


1. Don’t start with stand-alone competencies or clustered units of competency

It’s tempting to start a micro-credentials or digital credentials program by issuing badges against existing units of competency or clusters of competencies. In fact, the JR Plus student management system can facilitate this approach if a provider decides this is the strategy they will pursue.

Instead, Dale recommends providers take a traditional learning and development approach to building a new training program. Starting with the outcomes in mind, he suggests building the program out around industry position descriptions and typical work tasks, including grouping specific learning activities that relate to these key job functions and real-world tasks.

Providers are recommended to only map the units of competency back in once the program has been designed. “You should work with industry to build a set of subjects or topics that reflect the job role you are training towards,” Dale explains. “In retail for example, that could include things like opening and closing your point of sale, serving customers or even using Applepay,” he said.

Digital Credentials workflow

2. Determine what will (and what won’t) attract a digital badge

Issuing badges to students can be quite fast and seamless. What’s more difficult is deciding on - and enforcing - standards and criteria for when badges should be issued. Providers who issue badges for things like ‘showing up to class’ or ‘logging into their LMS’ can risk devaluing their entire program.

Dale says ‘what you are trying to achieve is value’. For that reason, he suggests that providers do not go much lower than issuing badges at the topic level, although he says this decision will depend on the context and outcome targets of each education and training organisation.


3. Start with one qualification or training discipline, not many

Rather than trying to convert all your courses into micro-credentials or digital credentials at once, Dale suggests providers experiment in just one qualification or training area. Once they ‘master’ digital credentials in that one discipline, he says rolling out in other areas will become simpler.

By starting with just one area, providers are able to assess what it takes to create a new program, from working with employers right through to defining the knowledge and skills that apply to each badge and updating training and assessment strategy templates to include new credential details.

Find out how to use JR Plus to issue digital credentials at readytech.io/readycred