Berchmanianum campus Radboud Universiteit
Berchmanianum campus Radboud Universiteit

Column: Microcredentials, what’s in it for us?

Micro-what? Yes, you read it right: Microcredentials. These are digital certificates you can obtain for a completed study programme or part of a study programme, and which are recognised by other educational institutions in the Netherlands. It may not sound that exciting, but these little virtual papers can actually make a big difference for professionals who want to continue to learn and develop throughout their career.

Imagine you completed a great course that gave you some new insights or skills that you want to use in your current or your next job. Not only does a microcredential provide you with digital proof that you completed the course in question, but you can also grant your employer permission to look up in the register what you learned and at what level, and what activities you completed for this. That gives extra value! It can lead to better career opportunities and more recognition for your hard work. This why our University has decided to take part in a national pilot aimed at recognising learning outcomes.

For years, Radboud University has been committed to also offering high-quality education to professionals, to help them move forward in their careers and professional development. Because learning does not stop after a Bachelor's or Master's degree. You could, for example, take a language course or register for a study programme on Innovation through Creative Thinking. Or you could enrol in the AMID masterclass and learn more about key issues in international development.

Goof Claessen

A microcredential adds an extra quality guarantee to study programmes, courses, and training programmes that tie in with the challenges you may encounter in your professional field. These programmes have a study load of at least 84 hours, but do not necessarily lead to a recognised Master's or other degree.

This year, Radboud Academy is experimenting with issuing microcredentials from Radboud University as part of a national pilot involving all Dutch universities and universities of applied sciences. To this end, a joint quality assurance process has been formulated, and a connection has been established with SURF's digital support structure. Using the Edu-ID, anyone can create a digital ‘backpack’ in which microcredentials are stored and kept. This allows professionals to show off their newly acquired skills on LinkedIn or share them with potential employers. Microcredentials can also earn you an exemption when taking other courses.

Radboud Academy is also going to work on issuing edubadges. These are accreditations for ‘non-formal’ educational programmes. Think of work you have done as member of a board, or competences gained during a short training course or long-term project. Edubadges allow students and professionals to demonstrate their acquired knowledge and/or skills in the same way as with microcredentials. The ultimate goal of these innovations is to enrich the Dutch initial and post-initial educational landscape and better connect it to the changing job market. In this way, we work together to stimulate lifelong learning in the Netherlands. Not only at the micro but also at the macro level!

See here for a
visual on how the issuing of digital certificates works. In addition, on this page, we will keep you informed of the latest developments around microcredentials at Radboud University.

Goof Claessen, Lifelong Learning Programme Coordinator at Radboud Academy and Project Manager of the Microcredentials Project Group.

Contact information

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Programme Radboud Academy