What is a micro-certification?

RMIT University in Australia provides a helpful description of both digital credentials and micro-credentials, which fall under the category of micro-certifications.

“A digital credential is the official certification of the acquisition of an individual’s skills or capabilities. It is awarded in a digital form, which is verified, secure and shareable with peers, employers and educational providers. Digital credentials can be curated, annotated, and distributed over digital networks under the earner’s control.

Micro-credentials also certify an individual’s achievements in specific skills and differ from traditional education credentials, such as degrees and diplomas, in that they are shorter, can be personalised and provide distinctive value and relevance in the changing world of work.”

— RMIT University

Why micro-certification now?

Micro-certifications 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.

Building a harmonized micro-certification ecosystem for Ontario

eCampusOntario’s work with micro-credentials aims to strengthen and expand micro-certification activity at Ontario colleges and universities through a common framework and a community of practice.

The eCampusOntario Micro-Certification Working Group brings together higher education and industry professionals to address micro-certification activity from a systemic perspective. Working group members are committed to strengthening skills connections and building pathways between higher education and the Ontario workforce. The working group is engaged in the active development and testing of a framework for micro-certification activity, ensuring relevance to the labour market, assessment, evidence, validation standards and partner endorsement.

Download the framework and principles document.

Micro-certification pilot projects

To test the principles and framework established by the working group, eCampusOntario is running 14 pilot micro-certification projects with Ontario post-secondary institutions and industry partners. The pilots aim to test micro-certification initiatives that fill gaps in human skills, technology skills, health and human services, manufacturing and natural resources.

Here is a list of the partners and pilot projects:

Partners: Conestoga College, Workforce Planning Board of Grand Erie
Pilot: Adapt existing content of Connect2Skills, a micro-certification for upskilling workers in warehousing and logistics, to align with eCampusOntario framework elements of verifiability, ownership and extensibility

Partners: George Brown College, The Canadian National Institute for the Blind, The Canadian Helen Keller Centre, Deaf Blind Ontario Services
Pilot: Create new content to issue micro-certifications in deafblind intervening, evaluating proficiency and accuracy in medical communication skills (e.g. American Sign Language)

Partners: Humber College, Purolator
Pilot: Create new content to issue micro-certifications in data fluency for freight and parcel delivery workers (and possibly other positions within the organization)

Partners: Lambton College, Tertec Enterprises Inc., Link2Feed, CCI Studios Inc., Cipher Interactive Inc.
Pilot: Create new content to issue micro-certifications Internet of Things and Modern Web Design in Sarnia-Lambton region

Partners: OCAD University, Myant Inc.
Pilot: Create new content to issue micro-certifications for user-centered product design in wearable technology

Partners: Ontario Tech, Lakeridge Health
Pilot: Create new content to issue micro-certifications in safe patient transfer and injury prevention to health care workers and students in BHSc programs

Partners: Queen’s University, City of Kingston
Pilot: To create scalable Design Thinking content & micro-certifications for individuals and groups within Queen’s University, the Kingston community, and beyond

Partners: Sault College, Project Learning Tree Canada
Pilot: Create new content to issue micro-certifications to current forest practitioners and up-and-coming forestry professionals in the understanding and application of Indigenous rights and relationship building

Partners: St. Lawrence College, City of Kingston
Pilot: Create new content to issue micro-certifications in intercultural intelligence to assist City of Kingston with implementation of Workplace Inclusion Charter

Partners: University of Waterloo, Electricity Human Resources Canada
Pilot: Adapt existing content to issue micro-certifications in teamwork and communication

Partners: Western University, Big Brothers Big Sisters of London Area, Pillar Nonprofit Network
Pilot: Adapt existing content to issue micro-certifications in change management for non-profit workers

Partners: Wilfrid Laurier University, The Brantford Police Service
Pilot: Create new content to issue micro-certifications to enhance detection and improve communication for police officers investigating human trafficking cases

Partners: University of Windsor, TransForm Shared Services Organization
Pilot: Adapt existing content to issue micro-certifications in Health Informatics to skilled workers and support the 2020 implementation of a new hospital information system in Windsor-Essex, Erie St. Clair and Chatham regional health services

Partners: York University, Markham Stouffville Hospital, Black Creek Community Health Centre, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, University Health Network, Access Alliance Community Health Centre, Lassonde School of Engineering
Pilot: Adapt existing content to issue micro-certifications to health care workers in health coaching and patient navigation

Annual Forum

eCampusOntario’s annual Micro-Certification Forum brings employers and academic leadership from all over North America. Through this interactive event, attendees from multiple sectors come together to share experiences and build a community of practice dedicated to the advancement of micro-certification for Ontario.

Learn more about and register for this year’s forum.

For more information, contact Emma Gooch, Program Coordinator.