The chapter ‘Keep Calm and Credential on: Linking Learning, Life and Work Practices in a Complex World’ (Lewis & Lodge 2016), acknowledges the increasing trend to require degrees as entry to work, and a change in balance between vocational and liberal education.

In a climate where there is strong competition for jobs, employers are able to expect graduate who have work-ready skills, not just in their discipline area, but in what we term Twenty-first Century skills. The challenge is in how we teach those skills: where do we fit them in an increasingly full curriculum, and do academics and teachers all have the skills to be able to teach and assess them?

“Micro-credentials, such as RMIT Creds, can provide at least part of the solution”.

Micro-credentials can recognise and advertise skills that may not be explicit in the student’s transcript or the title of the course, in addition to supplying content and activities that have been informed or co-designed by industry. RMIT Creds provide skills and capabilities that are valued and recognised by employers, thereby increasing graduate employability potential. The badges can be shared on social media, and will appear on the student’s transcript.

Lewis & Lodge raise some concerns about integrating (embedding) micro-credentials in courses or programs, but also assert that they “…offer innovative ways for higher education providers to work towards assuring the competencies of graduates.”

So, what does this mean for the future of vocational and higher education? Can we envisage a time when credentials are offered as a granular menu from which students fully customise their degree, or will the content of relevant micro-credentials be reincorporated into the qualification and the badge becomes redundant?

Lewis MJ & Lodge JM 2016, ‘Keep Calm and Credential on: Linking Learning, Life and Work Practices in a Complex World’, in Ifenthaler D, Bellin-Mularski N & Mah DK (eds.), Foundation of Digital Badges and Micro-Credentials. Springer, Cham, https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007%2F978-3-319-15425-1_3, accessed 27 April 2018.