Micro-credentials for recognition of workplace learning




In this provocation paper, we argue that designing micro-credentials for alignment with formal qualifications in terms of volume of learning and learning outcomes may leave employers’ needs unmet and continue the disconnect between employers’ and education providers’ perceptions on graduates’ work-readiness. We encourage the design of micro-credentials for greater recognition and portability of on-the-job learning, be it for credit into formal qualifications or not. We argue also that micro-credentials give an opportunity to better embed workplace informal learning into formal qualifications. This differs and complements previous calls for standardization of micro-credentials in terms of learning outcomes and duration of learning activities. Micro-credentials could be described in terms of other outcomes related to employability rather than traditional learning outcomes and duration of learning activities.  The paper refers to the engineering discipline as an illustrative example to demonstrate the need that micro-credentials could address.


Metrics Loading ...


Andersson, P., Fejes, A., & Sandberg, F. (2013). Introducing research on recognition of prior learning. International Journal of Lifelong Education, 32(4), 405–411. https://doi.org/10.1080/02601370.2013.778069

ASCED. (2014). Australian Standard Classification of Education. ABS. https://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/Lookup/1246.0main+features33June 2014

Australian Qualifications Framework Council. (2014). Volume of Learning : An Explanation (Issue May). https://www.aqf.edu.au/sites/aqf/files/volume-of-learning-explanation-v2-2014.pdf

Berry, B., & Cator, K. (2016). Micro-credentials : Driving teacher learning & leadership. In Digital Promise. Accelerating Innovation in Education. https://digitalpromise.org/reportsandresources/micro-credentials-driving-teacher-learning-leadership/

Beven, P. (2020). Skills and Credentialing : Implications for the Future Workforce. In QUTeX INSIGHTS. https://www.qut.edu.au/study/professional-and-executive-education/for-organisations/qutex-insights-skills-and-credentialing

Boud, D., & Jorre de St Jorre, T. (2021). The move to micro-credentials exposes the deficiencies of existing credentials. Journal of Teaching and Learning for Graduate Employability, 12(1), 18–20. https://doi.org/10.21153/jtlge2021vol12no1art1023

García-Peñalvo, F. J., Griffiths, D., Johnson, M., Sharples, P., & Sherlock, D. (2014). Problems and opportunities in the use of technology to manage informal learning. ACM International Conference Proceeding Series, October 2014, 573–580. https://doi.org/10.1145/2669711.2669958

Gauthier, T. (2020). The value of microcredentials: The employer’s perspective. The Journal of Competency-Based Education, 5(2), 1–6. https://doi.org/10.1002/cbe2.1209

Healy, M. (2021). Microcredential learners need quality careers and employability support. Journal of Teaching and Learning for Graduate Employability, 21–23. https://doi.org/10.1080/03075079.2020.1804851

Jones, A. (2009). Redisciplining generic attributes: The disciplinary context in focus. Studies in Higher Education, 34(1), 85–100. https://doi.org/10.1080/03075070802602018

Kadi, A., & Lowe, D. (2018). A new Professional Engagement Program – outline and initial outcomes. Proceedings of the AAEE2018 Conference.

Kift, S. (2021). Future work and learning in a disrupted world : ‘ The Best Chance for All .’ Journal of Teaching and Learning for Graduate Employability, 12(1). https://ojs.deakin.edu.au/index.php/jtlge/article/view/1015

Kinash, S., Crane, L., Judd, M. M., & Knight, C. (2016). Discrepant stakeholder perspectives on graduate employability strategies. Higher Education Research and Development, 35(5), 951–967. https://doi.org/10.1080/07294360.2016.1139555

Linkedin Learning. (2021). Workplace Learning Report: Skill Building in the New World of Work. https://learning.linkedin.com/resources/workplace-learning-report

Littlejohn, A., & Margaryan, A. (2014). Technology-Enhanced Professional Learning. In Technology-Enhanced Professional Learning. Processes, practices and tools (pp. 1187–1212). https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-017-8902-8

Lizier, A. L., & Reich, A. (2020). Learning through work and structured learning and development systems in complex adaptive organisations: ongoing disconnections. Studies in Continuing Education, 1–16. https://doi.org/10.1080/0158037x.2020.1814714

Lowe, D., Goldfinch, T., Kadi, A., Willey, K., & Wilkinson, T. (2021). Engineering graduates professional formation: The connection between activity types and professional competencies. European Journal of Engineering Education, 1–22. https://doi.org/10.1080/03043797.2021.1901074

Luk, L. Y. Y., & Chan, C. K. Y. (2020). Adaptation and validation of the Work Experience Questionnaire for investigating engineering students’ internship experience. Journal of Engineering Education, 109(4), 801–820. https://doi.org/10.1002/jee.20351

Male, S. A., & King, R. (2019). Enhancing learning outcomes from industry engagement in Australian engineering education. Journal of Teaching and Learning for Graduate Employability, 10(1), 101–117. https://doi.org/10.21153/jtlge2019vol10no1art792

Matters, T. (2016). Competency-Based Micro-Credentials for Educators: Powerful Lessons from Two Years in the Field. https://indd.adobe.com/view/publications/77629392-c1f5-4bb7-aea2-995389297afc/ucc3/publication-web-resources/pdf/micro-credentials_v2.pdf

Mischewski, B. (2017). Micro-credentials: A model for engineering education? https://www.voced.edu.au/content/ngv%3A79731#

Morisson, A., & Pattinson, M. (2021). SKILLS FOR INNOVATION A Policy Brief from the Policy Learning Platform on Research and Innovation (Issue January). https://www.interregeurope.eu/fileadmin/user_upload/plp_uploads/policy_briefs/Policy_Brief_-_Skills_for_Innovation_Final.pdf

National Skills Commission. (2020). Australian Jobs 2020. In Australian Government. https://www.nationalskillscommission.gov.au/sites/default/files/2020-11/Australian Jobs Report 2020.pdf

Noonan, P., Blagaich, A., Kift, S., Lilly, M., Loble, L., More, E., & Persso, M. (2019). Review of the Australian Qualifications Framework Final Report 2019. In Australian Qualifications Framework. https://www.education.gov.au/australian-qualifications-framework-review-0

Oliver, B. (2019). Making micro-credentials work (Issue August). https://dteach.deakin.edu.au/wp-content/uploads/sites/103/2019/08/Making-micro-credentials-work-Oliver-Deakin-2019-full-report.pdf

Rotatori, D., Lee, E. J., & Sleeva, S. (2021). The evolution of the workforce during the fourth industrial revolution. Human Resource Development International, 24(1), 92–103. https://doi.org/10.1080/13678868.2020.1767453

Selvaratnam, R. M., & Sankey, M. (2021). An integrative literature review of the implementation of micro-credentials in higher education: Implications for practice in Australasia. Journal of Teaching and Learning for Graduate Employability, 12(1), 1–17. https://doi.org/10.21153/jtlge2021vol12no1art942

Skule, S. (2004). Learning conditions at work: a framework to understand and assess informal learning in the workplace. International Journal of Training and Development, 8(1), 8–20. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1360-3736.2004.00192.x

UNESCO. (2011). The International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED). In UNESCO Institute for Statistics. https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02207511

Universities Australia. (2021). Guidance for Portability of Australian Microcredentials (Issue September). https://www.universitiesaustralia.edu.au/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/210929-Guidance-for-portability-of-Australian-microcredentials-UA.pdf

Volini, E., Hatfield, S., & Scoble-Williams, N. (2021). From survive to thrive : The future of work in a post-pandemic world. https://www2.deloitte.com/content/dam/Deloitte/global/Documents/HumanCapital/gx-the-future-of-work-post-covid-19-poc.pdf

Wheelahan, L., & Moodie, G. (2021). Analysing micro-credentials in higher education: a Bernsteinian analysis. Journal of Curriculum Studies, 53(2), 212–228. https://doi.org/10.1080/00220272.2021.1887358

Willey, K., Lowe, D., Tilley, E., Roach, K., & Machet, T. (2021). Undergraduate student’s perceptions of factors that enable and inhibit their professional skill development. Paper presented at the Australasian Association for Engineering Education Conference. https://aaee.net.au/wp-content/uploads/2021/11/REES_AAEE_2021_paper_12.pdf

Williams, P. (2019). Does competency-based education with blockchain signal a new mission for universities? Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management, 41(1), 104–117. https://doi.org/10.1080/1360080X.2018.1520491







How to Cite

Micro-credentials for recognition of workplace learning: Provocation. (2021). Journal of Teaching and Learning for Graduate Employability, 12(1), 52-57. https://ojs.deakin.edu.au/index.php/jtlge/article/view/1513

Most read articles by the same author(s)