Credentialing micro credentials



The core purpose of accrediting educational credentials is to establish their conformity with standards established for educational credentials in general, particularly those offered by other institutions and in other fields. Educational accreditation integrates educational credentials within a network of all other educational credentials and their processes for assuring standards and quality. These processes are essentially conservative, being designed to minimise the risk of a failure of standards or quality. There are also pragmatic obstacles to recording multiple credentials from different sources within education’s accreditation system.

In contrast, the recognition of expertise in employment is embedded within employment. The core criterion for the recognition of expertise in employment is the practitioner’s integration within a specific field of practice if not a site of employment. Comparability and still less similarity of practice with other fields and sites is irrelevant to the recognition of expertise in employment.

Inasmuch as micro credentials seek to develop employability they are markedly different from programs that develop educational knowledge and skills. While such micro credentials may be recognised in employment, they seem incompatible with educational accreditation. The little evidence available is that micro credentials do not have strong employment outcomes.

Micro credentials seem unlikely to address inequality in higher education which reflects deep and pervasive inequalities in society, and seem unlikely to strengthen links between education and work which depends as much on the structure of work and the labour market, and the cognitive content of jobs.


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Author Biographies

Gavin Moodie, University of Toronto

Adjunct Professor in the Department of Leadership, Higher, and Adult Education OISE, University of Toronto   Honorary fellow, University of Oxford Centre on Skills, Knowledge and Organisational Performance  

Leesa Wheelahan, OISE, University of Toronto

Leesa Wheelahan is interested in pathways within and between education and labour markets, higher education policy, relations between colleges and universities, social justice and social inclusion, and the role of knowledge in curriculum in vocationally oriented qualifications. Leesa published Why Knowledge Matters in Curriculum: A Social Realist Argument (Routledge, 2010) and numerous journal articles and book chapters concerned with social justice in access to, and the outcomes of, education.




How to Cite

Moodie, G., & Wheelahan, L. (2022). Credentialing micro credentials. Journal of Teaching and Learning for Graduate Employability, 12(1), 58–71. Retrieved from