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Building a connected micro-certification ecosystem

eCampusOntario’s work aims to strengthen and expand micro-certification activity in Ontario through a common framework and community of practice.

In Summer 2019, eCampusOntario formed a working group to co-create micro-certification 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-certifications 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-certification 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

Adopt FrameworkAdopt Framework

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-certification 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-certifications 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-certifications 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-certification 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-certifications in Battery Electric Vehicle maintenance.

Partners:  Durham College, Northumberland County
Pilot:  Create new content to issue a micro-certification 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-certifications 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-certifications 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-certifications in Essential Skills for Supportive Care.

Partners:  University of Guelph, International Insurance
Pilot: “Who do you think you are?: Identify and Bias at Work” – A reflective micro-certification 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-certifications 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-certifications 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-certifications in 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-certifications 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-certification 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-certifications 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-certifications 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-certifications from a learner perspective, as well as explore the role of micro-certification within the electricity sector.

Partners: Western Continuing Studies, Pillar Nonprofit Network
Pilot: Conduct research on micro-certification 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-certifications 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-certification, eCampusOntario has engaged consultants for research in both local and global contexts.

Download Micro-certification Business Models in Higher Education 

Download Micro-certifications: Policy and Regulatory Context in Ontario 

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.

For more information, contact Emma Gooch, Program Lead.