Building a connected micro-credential ecosystem

eCampusOntario has led the development and growth of alternative recognition of learning using micro-credentials, also known as micro-certification, since 2017.  eCampusOntario’s work aims to strengthen and expand micro-credential activity in Ontario through a common framework and community of practice.

In Summer 2019, eCampusOntario formed a working group to co-create micro-credential initiatives and establish a common currency. Working group members from across sectors developed a framework to build connections between post-secondary institutions and the Ontario workforce. The results are captured in the Principles and Framework document. This document is intended as a high-level guide for micro-credentials in the province so that unique regional initiatives align to a common provincial framework.  

eCampusOntario encourages the adoption of the framework for new and existing micro-credential initiatives both in Ontario and beyond our borders. If you are interested in learning more, fill out the form below.

Download the Principles and Framework document

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Pilot Projects

In late 2019, eCampusOntario engaged with 14 member institutions and their industry partners to test the principles and framework as a means to ensure that micro-credential activity is relevant to the labour market and maintains rigorous assessment, evidence and validation standards. Since the last set of pilots, leaders across post-secondary education and government have demonstrated significant support for efforts which lead to closer alignment between education and industry.

In summer 2020, eCampusOntario launched a second set of pilots with 22 member institutions and their industry partners.

Here is a list of on-going projects:

Partners:  Algonquin College, the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, BioCanRx Immunotherapy Network
Pilot:  Create new content to issue micro-credentials in Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) knowledge and principles, and Cleanroom Behaviour/Gowning.

Partners: Cambrian College, Pioneer Manor, Manitoulin-Sudbury District Services Board
Pilot:  Create new content to issue micro-credentials in a complement to Personal Support Workers, “Personal Care Assistant”. The training will be developed in such a way that participants will be able to ladder seamlessly into the Personal Support Worker Certificate program.

Partners: Canadore College, Spark Lifecare, and Spark University
Pilot:  Create new content to deliver a micro-credential in Professional Practice in Caregiving, which broadens caregivers’ skills, knowledge, and attitudes for working in communities with vulnerable individuals across diverse groups and populations.

Partners: College Boreal, Mayhew Performance
Pilot: Create new content to issue micro-credentials in Battery Electric Vehicle maintenance.

Partners:  Durham College, Northumberland County
Pilot:  Create new content to issue a micro-credential that prepares individuals for employment within the municipal government in Ontario, with an emphasis on rural areas.

Partners:  Fanshawe College, Downtown London
Pilot:  Create new content to issue micro-credentials in Digital Marketing Skills for small businesses in recovery post-COVID 19.

Partners:  George Brown College, the Ontario Building Officials Association
Pilot:  Create new content to issue micro-credentials in accessibility training in line with building codes.

Partners:  Georgian College, County of Simcoe Long Term Care and Seniors Services
Pilot:  Create new content to issue micro-credentials in Essential Skills for Supportive Care.

Partners:  University of Guelph, guard.me International Insurance
Pilot: “Who do you think you are?: Identify and Bias at Work” – A reflective micro-credentials for professionals in diverse workplaces.

Partners:  L’Université de Hearst, Innovanor, Pepco Inc., Hôpital Notre-Dame de Hearst and Service de toxicomanie Cochrane Nord.
Pilot:  Create new content to issue micro-credentials in intercultural competencies and active offer.

Partners : Humber College, Procept Associates Ltd.
Pilot : Conduct research to test the impact and measure the outcomes of a previously-deployed micro-certification, from both industry and learner perspectives.

Partners : Lakehead University, Anishinabek Employment and Training Services, Shooniyaa Wa-Biitong, Sioux Lookout Area Aboriginal Management Board, Marten Falls First Nation, Fort William First Nation, Indigenous Community Engagement, Noront and Impala Platinum
Pilot:  Create accredited content to issue micro-credentials in mathematics to support upskilling for persons in entry-level, technological, trades or prospective University students living in Northern and Indigenous communities.

Partners: McMaster University, National Institutes of Health Informatics
Pilot: Create new content to issue micro-credentialsin fundamental elements of the data life cycle: business analysis, data exploration, quantitative analysis, communication of results, and data life-cycle management.

Partners: Mohawk College, Hamilton Chamber of Commerce
Pilot: Create soft skills content to issue micro-credentials in workplace preparation to support internationally trained professionals.

Partners: OCAD University, Myant Inc.
Pilot: Explore the complex challenges and opportunities at the intersection of design, technology, and social theory, in the development of a new product prototype for this stackable Human Centred Design Micro-certification.

Partners:  Ontario Tech University, Lakeridge Health
Pilot: Create new content for a stackable micro-certification program, “Interprofessional Practice in Healthcare on Care and Safety”, including micro-certifications in Feeding, Donning and Doffing of Personal Protective Equipment, and COVID-19 Precautions.

Partners: Sault College, Project Learning Tree Canada
Pilot: Create new online content for a stackable micro-credential program for various competencies related to Indigenous rights and relationship-building in the forestry sector (e.g. respecting Aboriginal and treaty rights within sustainable forest management, unlocking the power of the local Indigenous workforce, developing inclusive procurement policies, etc.).

Partners: Seneca College, Avid Technology Inc.
Pilot: Create new content to issue micro-credentials in ingesting media into production for broadcast environments.

Partners: University of Toronto’s Dalla Lana School of Public Health, the Waakebiness-Bryce Institute for Indigenous Health, Peterborough Public Health
Pilot: Create new content to issue micro-credentials in four key areas in Indigenous cultural safety.

Partners: University of Waterloo, Electricity Human Resources Canada
Pilot: Conduct research on the value and resulting employability of micro-credentials from a learner perspective, as well as explore the role of micro-credentials within the electricity sector.

Partners: Western Continuing Studies, Pillar Nonprofit Network
Pilot: Conduct research on micro-credentials to define and evaluate their value to employers, as well as determine how the principles and framework can be adopted and expanded upon.

Partners: York University, Vision Loss Rehabilitation Canada
Pilot: Create new content to issue stackable micro-credentials in patient navigation.

Contact us to learn more or to see the list of the first set of pilots.

Research and Reports

In an on-going effort to promote knowledge and awareness of micro-credentials, eCampusOntario has engaged consultants for research in both local and global contexts.

Download Micro-credential Business Models in Higher Education 

Download Micro-credentials: Policy and Regulatory Context in Ontario 

What is a micro-credential?

A micro-credential is a certification of assessed learning associated with a specific and relevant skill or competency. Micro-credentials enable rapid retraining and augment traditional education through pathways into regular postsecondary programming. 

This is a working definition drawn from our experience in the landscape and inspired, in part, by the work of Beverley Oliver at Deakin University


Why micro-credentials now?

Micro-credentials can be used to recognize both vertical and transversal skills. Coupled with the in-depth learning obtained in a field of study, micro-credentials can be used to present a more holistic view of an individual’s abilities and achievements.

In today’s fast-changing workforce and emerging gig economy, a nimble recognition system is essential for both professionals and employers, who are increasingly moving towards skill or competency-based hiring.

For more information, contact Emma Gooch, Program Lead.