Tag: cheat sheet

Beginner's Micro-Credentials Checklist

Micro-credentials: a beginner’s checklist

Micro-credentials: a beginner’s checklist

Beginner's Micro-Credentials Checklist

Ready to set up some micro-credentials for your learning program? Maybe hoping to streamline, update, or change up the ones you’re providing? Or does the term micro-credential send you into a spiral of confusion, apprehension, and anticipated exhaustion?

All valid reactions – except that last one, we don’t want you to feel that way.  

Before we share the how, let’s quickly break down the what: What is a micro-credential?

Micro-credentials are rewards or recognition for a very specific set of skills, abilities, or scope of knowledge. Think of them as bite-sized portions of a larger credential, certification, or learning program. Want to level up on leadership or a new technology at work? Need to keep current on a procedure or specification in your industry? Complete a micro-credential, and ta-da! Achievement unlocked. 

So let’s make this easy. Here’s a checklist (a real one – not just a list of nice-to-have’s or general industry advice that you download, skim over, and say, “Ugh, there’s nothing here, I’m taking an early lunch”). Now you’ll have an exact set of tasks to set up any micro-credential. 

Stuff you’ll need: 

  • LMS or eLearning platform 
  • Outline for your course or credential (things like the skill/task to complete, a relevant video or screenshots, maybe some quiz questions) 
  • Brand materials (think logo files, brand colors, and maybe a cool badge icon for when people finish your micro-credential) 
  • Trust that this is not just another checklist with literally no action items to act on by the end (there totally will be) 

Ok, here comes the checklist!  

1. Define your skill/task/ability (AKA your micro-credential). 

This is the strategy portion of any project that sounds exciting when you’re chatting with colleagues and then becomes an absolute bear when you sit down to firm up plans. But it’s important – whether you’re parsing out smaller wins in an existing certificate program or building a new course from scratch. Take time to make sure you’ve outlined the objective and materials (hopefully you gathered most of this based on the stuff you needed list above – look at that!) Another big one: who will take this micro-credential?

2. Know your learners. 

Are they recertifying and need this micro-credential to keep momentum going? Are they new members and hoping to get a leg up in the industry with a quick win? Are they balancing a profession and home life and burgeoning side gig in badminton and need to learn on-the-go? Answer a few of these questions and include it in your definition (that was step 1 above).

3. Pick your platform, pick your people. 

Here’s the part where you might have to talk to other people – don’t worry, they will be helpful. You’ll need a platform to launch and host your micro-credential (most LMS or eLearning platforms do the trick- bonus if you already have one) and colleagues who can keep things moving along (content creation, communications, analytics, verification – maybe all those roles are on your plate – if so, we get it. And you’ve got this).

4. Check your work.  

We know – this one feels a little soft, but all the great teachers/editors out there are shouting “Yasss” right now. Collect all your great materials, cross-check with your original outline, review with your colleagues (and maybe an industry expert), then ask the ultimate question: does this still serve our learners?

5. Roll it out. 

It’s prime time! Perhaps you load everything up and start sharing the micro-credential with the whole (applicable) world. Another idea: include in your communications a few different learning pathways. This means your leaners can take the course standalone, or perhaps bundle or roll it into another program, or even pause and come back to it. Options.

6. Badge bragging galore. 

Give your learners plenty of display options for when they complete the micro-credential and want to show off their new badge with pride. Integrate with a certification engine, like Credly or Badgr, and provide your own in-house badge they can share on social platforms. Hot tip: not all good things last forever. If this is something that expires or needs to be renewed, build that into your micro-credential and badge as well.

7. Rinse and repeat. 

For the micro-credential, that is (and maybe take a shower – you’ve been working really hard). Iteration is the spice of life, so don’t be afraid to freshen up the course with different materials, communications, or targeted learners. Meaning…back to step 1 (we love a nice lifecycle checklist). 

Wanting a bit more info? 

Good for you! See below for some of our go-to resources: 

9 Ways to Keep Learners Engaged

9 ways to keep learners engaged

9 ways to keep learners engaged

9 ways to keep learners engaged tip sheet

We put together a quick list to help you manage the day-to-day priorities that come with running an education program. To keep up with any learning program (certification, certificate, badge, the list goes on), engagement is key. So we’ve collected tips and tricks from experts and friends across the learning landscape.

Skim through our 9 ways to engage below, or download the cheat sheet version to keep at your desk (or kitchen, or coffee table, in the car, stuffed in your bag…you get it).

It also features recommended tools (that you may already have!) to help streamline any education program.

1. Play Matchmaker. 

Resources: quiz or interactive tool platform like Survey Monkey (anything with branching logic) 

Match learners to the right resources, credentials, and experience. Create a short quiz to assess your learners’ strengths. Then offer customized resource recommendations based on their results. If you offer multiple credentials or certifications, create something a bit more interactive to capture precisely what they need. 

2. Level Up (and Out). 

Resources: workflows within your LMS or learning platform 

Some learners will breeze right through your course materials – others will need extra support. Set up different workflows so your high performers can “test out” of subjects in which they excel (banishing boredom) and your struggling enthusiasts can easily find extra resources (freeing them from frustration). 

3. Stay in Touch. 

Resources: marketing automation or email marketing platform  

Communicate often with your learners throughout their journey. This keeps them informed, excited, and motivated for the next step. 

4. Build Stepping Stones.  

Resources: courses and/or workflows in your LMS or learning platform 

A certification can feel overwhelming or even insurmountable. Consider offering micro-credentials – this break things up into smaller, simpler pieces along the path to a certification. Similar to helping learners level up and staying in touch with them, these quicker wins increase their positivity and pacing towards that larger goal. 

5. Make It Public. 

Resources: a public directory and search function within your LMS or learning platform 

Once a learner completes their certification, make it easy for current or prospective employers to verify the accomplishment. A public online directory lists credential holders with certification details (date earned/ expired, program requirements). Bonus: boost visibility AND alleviate staff time on manually verifying credentials.  

6. Give Learners the (Self Reporting) Power. 

Resources: a CE tracking tool in your learning platform 

Give learners a place to easily record, upload, track, and document progress on their certification journey. The benefit is two-fold: learners have an organized, self-service tool to manage a (often) multi-year process, and you can better track progress, promote courses, and communicate in a timely manner (i.e., don’t send that “you’re short on CEs this year” note on December 31st). 

7. Join the (Accountability) Club. 

Resources: online community platform or member directory in LMS or learning platform 

If we share our goals, setbacks, and wins with others, we’re more likely to keep at it. Plus, everybody likes a slick new badge. Assign learners “candidate” badges when they first start to show off in your online community or member directory. This creates accountability and buzz, making it easy for learners to find each other and foster that support network. 

8. Make It Easy + Keep Them Moving Forward.  

Resources: marketing automation or email marketing platform, workflows in LMS or learning platform 

The right communications help remove obstacles and banish that pesky procrastination monster. And don’t forget: veteran learners going through re-certification need love to. Share status updates and suggestions on how to earn CEs – certified members are loyal members, so remember the Stay in Touch tenet and apply it here, too.  

Subtle scare tactic: a dip in certification renewals can have a ripple effect. Think decreases in revenue sources, from membership dues to conference attendance. 

9. Let’s Brag. 

Resources: digital badge software, course tracking tools via LMS or learning platform 

If your learners have completed a certification, it’s time to celebrate! Provide digital badges through easy mechanisms (think simple software like Badgr to direct links to LinkedIn or other social profiles) where they can show the world.