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Microcredentials: Is It Attention-Grabbing Enough?

“Rather than traditional programs, microcredentials fit the bill for the attainment of industry-specific requirements based on their uniqueness of study anytime, anywhere,” said Prof Dr Vinesh Thiruchelvam, Chief Innovation Officer and Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Asia Pacific University (APU). 

Microcredentials are micro-qualifications that demonstrate an individual’s skill, knowledge, and/or professional development specific to an area relevant to an industry or across the labor market. 

Studies show that by 2025, 85 million jobs will be replaced by automation and 149 million new technology-focused jobs are expected to emerge. Hence, experts anticipate that 40% of core skills are likely to evolve for the global workforce. 

Presently, 69% of companies from around the world report a shortage of talent. It isn’t that the global labor market is short of talent. It is that the labor market lacks skilled talent. 

Skilling Up with Microlearning

Originally developed to address the knowledge acquisition and retention issue experienced by learners, microlearning empowers learners to skill up through personalization, accessibility, and flexibility


  • Breaks down learning into 3 – 10 minute modules designed to meet a single learning objective in a clear and concise manner, 
  • Enables learners to access the learning material on mobile devices, and 
  • Provides learners with the opportunity to personalize their learning journey. 

In short, microlearning empowers learners to seamlessly integrate learning into the flow of work. 

Additionally, research shows that microlearning is 17% more effective than traditional long-form learning modules. Organizations that employ this form of learning also observed a 90% increase in their employee engagement. 

Evidently, microlearning is beneficial to today’s global workforce. It is especially “crucial in our world of work as it encourages self-learning regardless of one’s background and helps to develop a multi-skilled employment pool,” said Melanie Cook, Managing Director of Hyper Island (Asia Pacific). 

Stacking Your Skills 

Day by day, skill by skill, the jobs of today are evolving into something completely different. Recognizing this, academic institutions and organizations emphasize the value of developing your skills with stackable microcredentials

Stackable microcredentials is a flexible learning strategy that enables individuals to address any of these challenges – “added knowledge or profiling, upskilling or reskilling, and stackable attainment towards a tertiary qualification,” said Prof Dr Vinesh. 

This approach to upskilling and reskilling is not new but has grown in popularity especially since the COVID-19 pandemic and its subsequent digital transformation. 

It presents learners, including working adults with the opportunity to curate their lifelong learning journey based on what, how, and when they want to learn

“I feel that the stackable credential format is extremely beneficial for working adults like me. It allows students to pace themselves to achieve their desired qualifications while juggling work and studies,” said a student of Singapore University of Social Sciences. 

It is also a win-win learning strategy as “organizations need not simply dismiss old employees or hire new ones,” said Prof Dr Vinesh. 

“Stackable microcredentials enables organizations to upskill worthy individuals towards a potential higher grade or reskilling existing staff who would otherwise have been made redundant.”

Show Off Your (Micro) Credentials 

In 2019, Wiley Education reported that 20% of employers were hiring those with digital badges tagged to microcredentials. This demand increased to 54% in 2021. 

Digital badges or certificates are shareable digital markers that indicate an individual’s skill, capabilities, fit, and achievements. It enables learners to share their badges on their resumes, social media, digital wallets, and e-portfolios. 

Simply put, a digital badge is a piece of digital data that can be displayed, accessed, and verified online. Thus, making hiring and skilling up easier for academic institutions, organizations, and talent.

Michelle Low
Michelle Low is a Malaysia-based writer and educator, with experience in interactive learning and archaeogaming.