- update 60 days ago.

Micro-Credentials and European Digital Credentials for Learning

Event report of webinar focusing on the synergies between micro-credentials and European Digital Credentials for Learning (EDCs).

As a contribution to the European Year of Skills, on 24 April 2024, the European Digital Credentials for Learning team hosted a webinar focusing on the synergies between micro-credentials and European Digital Credentials for Learning (EDCs). European Commission representatives, Koen Nomden, Isabel Ladrón Arroyo and Céline Jambon, provided an overview of the policy context within which both micro-credentials and EDCs evolve and operate. The session also provided an overview of how the standard elements of micro-credentials included in the Council Recommendation on a European Approach to micro-credentials are integrated in the European Learning Model (ELM), and how this can be practically used to issue micro-credentials compliant with the Recommendation, using the EDC infrastructure. Below you will also be able to access the new supporting materials presented in the webinar, as well as the full recording of the session. 

A micro-credential or a digital credential?

The terms micro-credential and digital credential are sometimes used interchangeably, creating ambiguity in the discussion around micro-credentials and their concrete use. In this article we refer to a micro-credential first and foremost as a concept, defined in the Recommendation as ‘the record of the learning outcomes that a learner has acquired following a small volume of learning’. This record may be manifested in several different forms. (European) digital credentials, on the other hand, refer to a specific format in which (micro-)credentials can be issued and presented. This distinction between content and format served as a starting point for the session, highlighting how European Digital Credentials for Learning can serve as the technical format for issuing micro-credentials comprising the standard elements listed in Annex 1 of the Recommendation.

Micro-credentials issued as EDCs

The Recommendation includes a common definition of micro-credentials, principles for their design and issuance, and a short list of required and optional standard elements. These standard elements, as mentioned in the Recommendation, are included in a European data model, namely the European Learning Model. The ELM, however, integrates not only this specific set, but also other elements from a wider range of European standards, such as the EQF Recommendation, the Europass Decision, the Diploma Supplement, etc. By providing the tools to build, issue, store and share ELM-based digital credentials, the EDC infrastructure (available both as free web tools and open-source) offers a way to make use of all these existing standards for the provision of information on skills and learning, while simultaneously adding a layer of trust in the credential via the use of eIDAS compliant electronic seal. By applying an electronic seal (a digital equivalent of a rubber stamp) the issuing organisation can certify the authenticity of the awarded credentials, and make them tamper-evident, meaning that any alteration to the sealed credential will directly be visible to its viewer. Thus, EDCs help to build trust, comparability, and transparency of micro-credentials. 

Next steps

To help interested implementers to adopt these standards, the EDC team has made available the below listed support documents, including the presented mapping of the Annex 1 to the ELM and EDCs, and training material on how to create your own standard compliant micro-credentials using the EDC Online Credential Builder.

Additional resources

 Did you miss the webinar? A video recording of the webinar will be available soon.

Do not hesitate to contact our team via email.