National Microcredentials Framework

National Micro-credentials Framework (Australia)

In developing this framework, the project team has undertaken a broad range of consultations with over 120 individuals from approximately 70 organisations.

A Microcredentials Working Group instigated by the Department of Education, Skills and Employment (DESE) and chaired by Emeritus Professor Beverley Oliver convened periodically between July and October 2021 to discuss and agree key elements of this framework.

The education landscape is changing with growing demand for shorter-form courses that enable workers to rapidly upskill and encourage lifelong learning.

Technological change coupled with rapid transformation brought about by COVID-19, have elevated the potential for micro-credentials to rapidly upskill and reskill the workforce. Even so, the micro-credentials ecosystem is disparate, lacking even a consistent definition across higher education, vocational education, and industry.

A significant number of Federal and State Government projects are now underway to fund, trial, collate and credentialise micro-credentials. These projects define and fund micro-credentials differently, and without a clear framework, they risk embedding inconsistency into the future. Simultaneously, many providers have developed their own credit recognition or micro-credential policies. Multiple reports have recommended the establishment of guidelines that micro-credentials should follow, including the Australian Qualifications Framework Review 2019.

A framework can help reduce complications for learners seeking to make a decision on what to learn, for recognising bodies or providers seeking to recognise a micro-credential for credit, and for employers or professional bodies seeking to understand the learning outcomes and capabilities of employees.

While a framework is unlikely to address all questions raised by interested parties, a National Microcredentials Framework can bring additional coherence to this ecosystem. It has been the product of broad consultation with over 120 individuals from approximately 70 organisations, an environment scan that included consideration of over 35 different definitions and multiple existing frameworks, and consensus-based discussion among a Microcredentials

Working Group with recognised leaders from higher education, vocational education, and industry.

The nature of this discussion is representative of the diversity of views on micro-credentials. Consensus on key elements has been challenging, and the strong weight of opinion has been that any framework should err on the side of minimalism to protect the flexibility and dynamism of micro-credentials.

This framework seeks to respond to stakeholder inputs, and in doing so:

  • sets a national definition for micro-credentials.
  • agrees on unifying principles for micro-credentials
  • establishes critical information requirements
  • outlines a minimum standard for micro-credentials that will sit on the Microcredentials Marketplace.

Announced in June 2020 by the Department of Education, Skills and Employment, the Microcredentials Marketplace will be a user-friendly, nationally-consistent platform that allows learners, employers and providers to compare short courses.

Project Team

In developing this framework, the project team has undertaken a broad range of consultations with over 120 individuals from approximately 70 organisations.

A Microcredentials Working Group instigated by the Department of Education, Skills and Employment (DESE) and chaired by Emeritus Professor Beverley Oliver convened periodically between July and October 2021 to discuss and agree key elements of this framework.

Read the full report now.