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Micro-credentials in Higher Education: A Look at the Data

Micro-credentials, also known as digital badges, have become an increasingly popular form of certification in higher education in recent years. They are a way to acknowledge specific skills, knowledge or competencies and they are typically shorter and more focused than traditional degrees or certifications. In this article, we will take a look at the data on the use and impact of micro-credentials in higher education.


Research has shown that micro-credentials are increasingly being used by institutions of higher education. A survey conducted by the Babson Survey Group found that over 80% of colleges and universities in the United States have reported offering micro-credentials in some form. Additionally, the same survey found that the majority of these institutions plan to increase their offerings of micro-credentials in the future.

Data has also shown that micro-credentials are becoming increasingly popular among students and professionals. According to the same Babson Survey Group study, over half of the students surveyed reported being interested in earning a micro-credential. Furthermore, a study by EduCause found that the majority of employers are interested in hiring candidates with micro-credentials, and they see them as a way to identify and hire qualified candidates.

Research on the impact of micro-credentials has been mixed. Some studies have found that micro-credentials can have a positive impact on student engagement, motivation, and learning. A study by the University of Pennsylvania found that students who earned micro-credentials reported higher levels of motivation and engagement in their coursework. Additionally, the same study found that students who earned micro-credentials performed better academically than their peers who did not earn micro-credentials. However, other studies have found that the impact of micro-credentials on student outcomes is mixed and depend on the design of the program and the specific micro-credentials earned.

In conclusion, data on the use and impact of micro-credentials in higher education shows that their use is on the rise among institutions and students. Additionally, employers are also expressing interest in recognizing and hiring candidates who hold micro-credentials. The impact of micro-credentials on student outcomes is still being studied and varies depending on the program and specific micro-credentials earned. As micro-credentials continue to gain popularity in higher education, it will be important to continue to collect and analyze data on their use and impact in order to fully understand their potential benefits and limitations.


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