What are microcredentials?

The Conversation published the following description on the 14th of October 2021:

“In Australia, the term microcredential describes different types of smaller bites of learning offered by universities, TAFEs and private education providers. The term is often used interchangeably with short courses…” [1]

The Australian Government’s Department of Education, Skills and Employment released the National Microcredentials Framework on the 22nd of April 2022. This document gives the following definition:

The framework defines microcredentials as a certification of assessed learning or competency, with a minimum volume of learning of one hour and less than an AQF award qualification, that is additional, alternate, complementary to or a component part of an AQF award qualification. [2]

From these sources, we can say that a microcredential is usually a short duration training program that includes assessment. Certification is issued to people who can demonstrate their attainment of the learning outcomes.

Who can provide a microcredential?

Microcredentials are unregulated, which differentiates them from other products delivered by higher education or vocational education and training sectors. [3] There are many providers of microcredentials.

There are ‘regulated providers’ of microcredentials:

  • Universities and other higher education providers (regulated by TEQSA)
  • Registered training organisations (regulated by ASQA).

There is a myriad of ‘unregulated providers’ of microcredentials:

  • Providers of industry training (some are industry associations, others can be affiliated with an industry associations, and others may align their microcredentials to industry standards)
  • Providers of community training
  • Providers of commercial training.

Also, some ‘regulated providers’ are providing microcredentials that are ‘non-regulated microcredentials’. For example, a registered training organisation can provide a microcredential that is not a skill set, unit or units of competency from a Training Package. This leverages from the brand recognition of the provider and avoids requiring the microcredential to comply with the regulations for operating as a registered training organisation.

The following diagram provides a simplistic view of the range of microcredential providers.

In conclusion

The microcredentials ecosystem is disparate. The National Microcredentials Framework aims to bring some coherence to this ecosystem. [4]

Do you want to learn more about the National Microcredentials Framework? I am presenting a ‘How to implement the National Microcredentials Framework‘ training course. The following topics will be covered during the 2-hours of training:

  • National Microcredentials Framework
  • Unifying principles of microcredentials
  • Volume of learning for microcredentials
  • Learning outcomes and assessment methods
  • Critical information requirements for microcredentials
  • Essential quality assurance processes for microcredentials
  • Five steps towards implementing microcredentials.

Look here for more details.


[1] https://theconversation.com/microcredentials-what-are-they-and-will-they-really-revolutionise-education-and-improve-job-prospects-169265 accessed 6 April 2022

[2] https://www.dese.gov.au/higher-education-publications/resources/national-microcredentials-framework (page 3) accessed 6 April 2022

[3] https://www.dese.gov.au/higher-education-publications/resources/national-microcredentials-framework (page 12) accessed 6 April 2022

[4] https://www.dese.gov.au/higher-education-publications/resources/national-microcredentials-framework (page 2) accessed 6 April 2022

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Training trainers since 1986

Author: Alan Maguire

35+ years experience as a trainer, instructional designer, quality manager, project manager, program manager, RTO auditor, RTO manager and VET adviser.

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