We help learning providers and employers operationalize a micro-credential strategy to make learning more visible, portable, stackable, career-enhancing and, importantly, machine-readable.
Skills and competencies are the new hiring currency. As employers move away from degrees as the proxy for the technical and non-technical skills they need, searchable micro-credentials are a way to discover a diverse talent pool.
Micro-credentials vs. Badges
The terms “micro-credential” and “badge” are often used interchangeably. Micro-credentials are the learning/earning experience and the badge is the technology used to display it.
Our micro-credentials are assessed by facilitators, follow a strict pedagogy, and are co-designed with employers. We have developed a suite of 21st century skills credentials in use at many learning institutions (see below), and we help providers design their own credentials.
Micro-pathways are two or more stackable credentials that can be packaged as a validated market signal connecting learners to employment in high growth careers. At the Lab, we have established clear criteria to define and distinguish a micro-pathway: pathway completion should garner salaries at or above median wage and include targeted 21st century skills modules to provide liberal arts training as preparation for career advancement.
What is a 21st century skills micro-credential?
A 21st century skills micro-credential is a credential that signals the completion of a rigorous and intentional learning experience for a core 21st century skill—we sometimes call these power skills, mobility skills, or soft skills—like collaboration, critical thinking, and creative problem-solving.
The Lab has co-designed a suite of eight 21st century skills “digital badges” with 20 colleges and 60 employers that target the most in-demand universal skills. What began five years ago as a design sprint with one university and local employers has grown into a multi-pronged set of products and services as we have become a leader in digital micro-credentials and the scalable teaching of 21st century skills.
1300 individuals from over 1000 institutions and organizations from over 30 countries have joined our community to gain access to the Lab’s 21st Century Skills Micro-credentials curriculum, assessments. and training tools.Learn More About the Lab's Micro-credentials
A two-year study to test the efficacy of micro-credentials as a hiring signal for employers across three U.S. regions
The Badging Fellows
A cohort of institution-based innovators who are testing and iterating on the Lab’s micro-credentials
We’re working with partners on the ground in San Antonio, Texas, to build 2 scalable pathways to middle-skill managerial jobs in advanced manufacturing and other growth sectors
Community College Growth Engine Fund
We’re collaborating with a national cohort of community colleges, employers, and regional stakeholders to co-create employer-validated micro-pathways designed to connect low-wage and entry-level workers to in-demand jobs that pay at-or-above median wage and put them on a path toward a degree
Creativity for COVID
A remote internship experience for Washington, D.C. public high school students working in teams on real-world projects to address social and policy issues impacting their city and neighborhoods since the advent of COVID-19
Meet Our Partners
Interested in our micro-credentialing services?
Launching a scalable micro-credentialing initiative can be complex. We can help you break it down, or start with some small bets. We offer everything from 2-day sprints to 6-month, even year-long engagements to build custom scalable solutions (and faculty support). Want to build your own micro-credentials? We can do that, too.
News + Events
Q&A with Dr. Tara Zirkel, Senior Education Designer with the Community College Growth Engine Fund The Community College Growth Engine Fund is a design accelerator led by the Education Design Lab working with community colleges…View Story
In April 2021, the Community College Growth Engine Fund (CCGEF), a national initiative to build 18+ employer-validated micro-pathways, hosted learner feedback sessions. Micro-pathways are defined as two or more stackable credentials that include a 21st…View Story