Micro-learning, Digital Badges and Micro-credentials

Definitions, Affordances and Design Considerations for application in Higher Education Institutions.


  • Susan Flynn SETU
  • Emmett Cullinane South East Technological University
  • Helen Murphy South East Technological University
  • Neill Wylie South East Technological University


While Higher Education Institutes have traditionally viewed awards as a result of ECTS (European Credit Transfer System) credit accumulation, in recent years the recognition of smaller parcels of learning has become popular. Micro-credentials and digital badges are a relatively new concept and lend themselves to a wide variety of educational knowledge, skills and competence achievement, furthermore, they could help certify the outcomes of small, tailored learning experiences. While they are usually regarded as distinct from ECTS credits, some universities have also formalized a connection between the two. They can be used in a variety of settings and offer a flexible and reliable means of capturing continuous professional development. This article considers the development of micro-credentials examining their potential and scope while proposing a distinction between the former and digital badges. The article presents several design models for micro-credentials and digital badges including examples of use in practice toward measurable and achievable learning outcomes. Examining the scope and path to realizing micro-credentials, taking into consideration the European Commission’s recommendations on micro-credentials, this article aims to inform best practice for micro-credential design and digital badge design.






Reflections, Journeys and Case Studies