We try to maintain a useful list of projects, publications, organizations and tools. Contact Jan Muehlig if you have a good link you think we should add.
Spotlight: The Badge Wiki is a great source to start with when you are interested in Digital Badges. Badge Wiki is a knowledge repository for the Open Badges community. It provides information and resources about what Open Badges are, how they work, and how they can be used for learning and recognition. Badge Wiki also features a navigation section that links to various topics related to Open Badges, such as badge pathways, badge design, badge platforms, and more. Badge Wiki is stewarded by Keep Badges Weird community and supported by We Are Open Co-Op.
Spotlight: The Micro-Credential Observatory is a project of the National Institute for Digital Learning (NIDL) at Dublin City University (DCU). It aims to provide a comprehensive and updated collection of resources on micro-credentials in higher education and lifelong learning. The project partners with the ECIU University and other stakeholders to conduct research, policy analysis and events on the growth and potential of micro-credentials.
- In November 2022, ICoBC hosted a panel presentation on “Tokens Versus Degrees: Microcredentials for Career Pivots and Continuous Professional Development” at the OEB in Berlin.
- In November 2022, the 2nd ICoBC Symposium hosted speakers such as Elena Magrini (Lightcast), Matthias De Bièvre (Visions, Prometheus-X), Jan Renz (BMBF), Esther Grieder (Humanitarian Leadership Academy), Dominic Orr (GIZ / atingi), Brian Mulligan (ATU) and Anna Aslanova (Coach) under the theme “The Journey of the Champions”. The ICoBC Symposium 2022 was a one-day event that took place on November 22, 2022 in Berlin, Germany. The theme of the symposium was “The Journey of the Champions”, which highlighted the role of intrapreneurs who create and scale digital credential ecosystems across different sectors. The symposium featured keynote speakers, panel discussions, and learning cafés that addressed the key challenges and opportunities of digital credentialing. The symposium also showcased the sponsors and supporters of ICoBC, a global network of digital credential issuers and verifiers.
- In September 2022, the Credentials to Employment – The Last Mile (2022) was published: This report explores the gap between the promise of digital credentials and their adoption in employment contexts. It is based on interviews, research and analysis of various stakeholders, such as educational institutions, learners and employers. The report identifies different use cases and challenges for digital credentials, such as skills matching, talent management, verification and integration. It also makes recommendations to increase the adoption and value of digital credentials for employers and learners.
- The article What is the future of Micro, Nano and Digital credentialing? was published in August 2022: A short overview of the “size” of credentials, the challenges that arise from it, especially with examples from New Zealand, and what needs to be solved. The article discusses the current trends and challenges of micro, nano, and digital credentialing in the education sector. It explains the different definitions and meanings of these terms across countries and organisations, and the importance of recognition and portability for learners. It also highlights the benefits of micro-credentials for both adults and children, such as flexibility, transparency, skill development, and career progression. The article concludes by suggesting that micro-credentials are here to stay and will play a key role in the future of learning.
- 2022: An approach to assessment of programs issuing micro-credentials through online means, published by Rebecca Ferguson. This paper introduces a reflective framework for the assessment and recognition of microcredentials, which are short online courses that address the needs of employers and learners in the labour market. The framework consists of seven guidelines that can help microcredential providers to choose the best approaches for verifying learners’ identity, assessing their learning outcomes, recognizing their achievements, and ensuring quality assurance. The framework is based on a review of 27 documents and a synthesis process. The paper aims to support the design and development of microcredentials that are valid, reliable, transparent, and trustworthy.
- In June 2022, the DID core specification is approved to advance to W3C Recommendation. The W3C Director’s Decision on DID 1.0 Proposed Recommendation Formal Objections is a document that summarizes and responds to the formal objections raised by three organizations against the advancement of Decentralized Identifiers (DIDs) v1.0 to a W3C Recommendation. The document explains the rationale and process behind the decision, as well as the implications and next steps for the DID Working Group and the wider Web community. The document also provides links to relevant resources and discussions on the topic of DIDs and their role in enabling privacy-respecting online identity and consent-based data sharing.
- In June 2022, the book “New Models of Higher Education: Unbundled, Rebundled, Customized, and DIY” was published. It is a book that explores how students are creating their own educational paths by mixing and matching different courses, credentials, and platforms throughout their careers. The book examines how higher education institutions, technology companies, and workplaces can better support and enable this new way of learning and training. The book covers topics such as alternative credentials, assessment, curriculum development, lifelong learning, and skills-based education. The book is edited by Aaron M. Brower and Ryan J. Specht-Boardman and is sponsored by Lumina Foundation and Walmart.
- In June 2022, the BadgEurope Erasmus+ project investigates how to scale digital credentialing for people distant to the labour market. They have compiled a list of research papers and projects on that topic on their website. BadgEurope is an Erasmus+ project that aims to develop a starter toolkit for using digital badges and credentials to recognize informal and non-formal learning and skills, especially for people distant to the labour market. The project has three phases: desk research, stakeholder interviews, and toolkit creation. The project started in September 2020 and is expected to finish by late 2022.
- In March 2022, the MIT (USA) has published a report on an “Open Source Student Wallet“. This paper reports on the development and testing of an open-source, mobile wallet for digital academic credentials by MIT and its partners. The wallet is designed to give learners ownership and control of their verifiable credentials, and to enable them to share them with employers and other institutions. The paper describes the technical architecture, user interface, and security features of the wallet, as well as the feedback and lessons learned from pilot testing with three different types of educational providers: College Unbound, San Jose City College, and Georgia Tech. The paper also discusses the challenges and opportunities for scaling and sustaining the wallet as part of a broader ecosystem of digital credentials.
- In February 2022, Rory McGreal and Don Olcollt Jr. published the article “A strategic reset: micro-credentials for higher education leaders“. The article provides an introduction to the emerging field of micro-credentials for higher education leaders. It discusses the basic elements, types, affordances and barriers of micro-credentials, as well as the global landscape and challenges of standardising them. It also offers some general observations, lessons from practice, and an example of how institutions may implement a strategic reset using micro-credentials. The article emphasises that micro-credentials are not a panacea for resolving institutional challenges and they may provide strategic value in their integration with other major institutional initiatives.
- In September 2021, the OECD published a report on Quality and value of micro-credentials in higher education: Preparing for the future This report examines how higher education institutions envision the future of micro-credentials and their implications for quality assurance and recognition. It draws on a survey of 62 higher education institutions from 26 countries and a series of interviews with experts and stakeholders. The report provides insights into the drivers, benefits, challenges and opportunities of micro-credentials, as well as their quality and value in relation to formal degrees. It also discusses how micro-credentials can support lifelong learning, skills development and employability in a rapidly changing world..
- In September 2021, the OECD released a report on Micro-credential innovations in higher education: Who, What and Why? This report presents the latest data and analysis on the state of education across OECD countries and some partner economies. It covers various aspects of education systems, such as structure, finance, performance, equity and quality. It also examines the impact of education on individual and social outcomes, such as employment, earnings, skills, well-being and social cohesion. The report draws on a range of sources, including the OECD’s own databases, surveys and publications, as well as other international and national data sources.
- 2021: Position Paper by the Netherlands in the Context of the Public Consultation of the European Commission on “Micro-credentials for Lifelong Learning and Employability”. This paper presents the position of the Netherlands on the topic of micro-credentials for lifelong learning and employability in the context of the European Commission’s public consultation. The paper outlines the relevant national policy developments, the priorities and concerns of the Dutch government, and the suggestions for a European approach to micro-credentials. The paper argues that micro-credentials can enhance the flexibility and accessibility of higher education and recognition of learning outcomes, but also calls for a thorough and evidence-based preparation of any proposals at the EU level.
- 2021: Micro-credentials in Professional Higher Education. European Associations of Institutions in Higher Education. This paper explores the concept and implications of micro-credentials in professional higher education. The paper examines the drivers, benefits and challenges of micro-credentials, as well as their potential impact on the quality, transparency and recognition of learning outcomes. The paper also provides recommendations for policy makers, higher education institutions and stakeholders to foster a European approach to micro-credentials that supports lifelong learning and employability.
- 2021: Position Paper of eucen on the Public Consultation on Micro-credentials for Lifelong Learning and Employability. This paper presents the position of eucen, a European association for university lifelong learning, on the topic of micro-credentials for lifelong learning and employability. The paper argues that micro-credentials are a useful tool to support lifelong learning, especially in the context of digitalisation, climate crisis and social inclusion. The paper also outlines some challenges and recommendations for the development and recognition of micro-credentials at European and national levels. The paper is based on the discussions during the eucen Policy Talks 2021.
- 2021: Micro-credentials: Towards a Universal Definition. This paper presents the position of the Groningen Declaration Network (GDN) on the definition of micro-credentials. The GDN is a global community of organizations and individuals that support digital learner data portability and fair recognition. The paper outlines five dimensions that the GDN considers essential for micro-credentials: learner autonomy, trust, interoperability, recognition, and inclusion. The paper also provides recommendations for the European Commission and other stakeholders to foster a coherent and comprehensive micro-credential ecosystem.
- 2021: The Global Micro-credential Landscape: Charting a New Credential Ecology for Lifelong Learning. This paper provides a global overview of micro-credentials, which are smaller and shorter units of study than traditional qualifications. It explains the rationale, stakeholders and trends of micro-credentials in relation to lifelong learning, employability and digital education. It also discusses some of the challenges and opportunities of micro-credentials for higher education, industry and policy-makers. It draws on a European perspective and a case study from Ireland to illustrate the current state and future potential of micro-credentials in the 21st-century credential ecology.
- In December 2020, Dominic Orr et al. published “Towards a European approach to micro credentials: a study of practices and commonalities in offering micro-credentials in European higher education” in English, French and German. This study examines the current practices and commonalities in offering micro-credentials in European higher education. The study analyses the drivers, benefits and challenges of micro-credentials, as well as the existing frameworks and initiatives at the national and institutional levels. It also provides recommendations for developing a European approach to micro-credentials that supports lifelong learning, employability and social inclusion.
- In November 2020, openlearning published “OpenCreds – A lifelong learning micro-credentialing framework” (download after filling out a form) which links micro-credentials to the National Qualifications Framework in Malaysia. OpenCreds is a platform that offers microcredentials for learners and educators in Malaysia. OpenCreds allows learners to access high-quality courses from various providers, earn digital badges and certificates, and showcase their skills and achievements. OpenCreds also enables educators to design and deliver microcredentials that meet the needs and interests of their learners and industry partners.
- In September 2020, the EU project “MICROBOL” published a “Desk Research Report“. This report presents the findings of the MICROBOL project, which explored how micro-credentials can be linked to the Bologna key commitments of quality assurance, recognition, and qualification frameworks & ECTS. The report provides a definition of micro-credentials, their distinctive features and benefits, and the status and trends of their provision and use in Europe and beyond. The report also examines the applicability and use of the existing European Higher Education Area (EHEA) tools for micro-credentials, and identifies issues and constraints that need to be addressed. The report concludes with recommendations for developing a common framework for micro-credentials in the EHEA.
- In July 2020, the International Labour Organization (ILO) released a report on “The Digitization of TVET and Skills Systems” with findings stating e.g. that “Digitization is becoming the driving force behind lifelong learning and flexible learning pathways”. The report titled “Guidelines for a just transition towards environmentally sustainable economies and societies for all” is a publication of the International Labour Organization (ILO) that provides a policy framework for a just transition. The report is based on the resolution and conclusions adopted by the International Labour Conference in 2013 concerning sustainable development, decent work and green jobs. The report defines the concept of just transition as a process that ensures that the rights and interests of workers and enterprises are protected and promoted while moving towards environmentally sustainable economies and societies. The report outlines the main principles, policy areas and enabling conditions for a just transition, as well as the roles and responsibilities of different actors, such as governments, employers, workers, communities and international organizations. The report also provides examples of good practices and tools for implementing a just transition at different levels and sectors.
- In February 2020, the Digital Credentials Consortium published the whitepaper “Building the digital credential infrastructure for the future“. This white paper presents a vision for building a digital credential infrastructure for the future. It explores the challenges and opportunities of creating a system that empowers learners to own and share their verified achievements across different contexts and platforms. It also proposes a set of design principles and recommendations for developing a more open, interoperable and trustworthy credential ecosystem.
- In January 2020, Clements, West and Hunsaker published a noteworthy paper on “Getting Started With Open Badges and Open Microcredentials“. This guideline provides a practical resource for organizations interested in designing and implementing an open badging system. The guideline introduces key terms and design precedents of open badges, and presents a possible framework and a step-by-step guide for creating open badges within an organization.
- In 2019, the International Council on Distance Education (ICDE) has published a report called “The Present and Future of Alternative Digital Credentials (ADCs)” which can be downloaded in English, Spanish and Mandarin on their website. This report explores the concept and implications of Alternative Digital Credentials (ADCs), which are certifications of skills and competencies that are verified and documented digitally. The report examines the rationale, definitions, criteria, implementation, and challenges of ADCs, as well as their potential impact on higher education institutions and society. The report also provides recommendations for ICDE members and other stakeholders who are interested in adopting or experimenting with ADCs. The report includes an addendum on blockchain technology, which is one of the possible platforms for issuing and storing ADCs.
- Gary W. Matkin wrote an interesting paper in 2018 on “ALTERNATIVE DIGITAL CREDENTIALS: An Imperative for Higher Education“. This paper provides a rationale and pathway for the institutional adoption of Alternative Digital Credentials (ADCs), which are fully digital, workplace-relevant, and information-rich records of an individual’s skills and competencies. The paper argues that ADCs will render traditional university transcripts increasingly irrelevant and obsolete, as employers will value more the demonstration of acquired skills and knowledge than where or how the learning occurred. The paper also discusses the current usage, standard-setting efforts, grant funding, and challenges of implementing ADCs in higher education institutions. The paper concludes with some considerations on the future of ADCs, including the advent of blockchain technology.
- In 2015, David Anderson and Selva Staub write about “Postgraduate Digital Badges in Higher Education: Transforming Advanced Programs Using Authentic Online Instruction and Assessment to Meet the Demands of a Global Marketplace“. This article presents a study on the effects of using gamification techniques in online learning environments. The authors conducted an experiment with 208 undergraduate students who enrolled in a course on web design. The students were divided into two groups: one group used a gamified platform and the other group used a traditional platform. The results showed that the gamified group had higher levels of motivation, engagement, satisfaction, and learning outcomes than the traditional group. The authors also identified some factors that influenced the effectiveness of gamification, such as gender, age, prior knowledge, and learning styles. The article concludes with some implications and recommendations for future research and practice..
- Dr. Patrick Werquin, probably one of the most renowned experts in the field, gives a good overview on the “Recognition of Non-Formal and Informal Learning: Country Practices” (2010). In the same year, he also published “Recognising Non-Formal and Informal Learning“, a report on outcomes, policies and practices which also consists of a comprehensive benefits’ section as well as cost analysis. Eventually one of the most comprehensive books on this topic is “Global Perspectives on Recognising Non-formal and Informal Learning – Why Recognition Matters” by Madhu Singh
- The Role of National Qualifications Systems in Promoting Lifelong Learning (2005): This OECD activity “pursues the following three objectives: i) to gather information about qualification systems in participating countries; ii) to examine the impact of different qualification policies on lifelong learning; and iii) to help countries to share know-how and policy experience gained from recent reforms and adjustments of qualification systems.” ICoBC wants to point out the importance i.e. of the report by the Thematic Group 2 on “Standards and quality assurance in qualifications with special reference to the recognition of non-formal and informal learning” (English, French). An example on how to adapt these practices on a national level is given in by the BMBF report “Status of Recognition of non-formal and informal learning in Germany” (2008).