Micro-Credential Moments with Ross: Open Is in Micro-Credentials’ DNA

Post by Ross McKerlich, project manager, BCcampus. Scroll down for the audio version of this post.

Open is a powerful word at BCcampus. Indeed, it is one of our values. Open education grew from the open-source software movement and is now applied to many areas of education – including micro-credentials. How did this happen?

Post-secondary institutions often use digital badges to recognize short-duration, competency-based learning such as micro-credentials. It is important to note that a badge is more than an image; metadata is embedded in it that illustrates the competency earned, the criteria for earning that competency, standards, the date the learner earned the credential, when it expires, and an endorsement of the learning. 

Digital badges were first introduced by Mozilla Foundation in 2011 as part of its Badges for Lifelong Learning competition (Surman 2011). Fast forward to 2019 and the digital badges that Mozilla created to recognize learning are now the Open Badge standard – so you could say open is in micro-credentials’ DNA. 

What does this mean for micro-credentials? The Open Badge standard allows learners to show their learning achievements in any badge platform if their digital badge uses the Open Badge standard. The lesson here is that it is important for institutions to select a badge platform that uses the Open Badge standard. 

Micro-credentials are often recognized by digital badges, which have their genesis in open. As a result, the learner can proudly show their learning achievement to others. Just like the digital badge image embeds rich data, the values of open are embedded in micro-credentials. This could be just the beginning; there could be further open possibilities in micro-credentials with the use of Creative Commons licences. 

To dive deeper into micro-credentials please join my colleague Helena and I for our Current Topics in Micro-credentials FLO MicroCourse starting November 15.

Read (or listen!) to the first post in this series on micro-credentials: Micro-Credential Moments with Ross: Access.


Mark Surman, “Mozilla Launches Open Badges Project,” Commonspace on WordPress.com (September 15, 2011), http://commonspace.wordpress.com/2011/09/15/openbadges-2.

The featured image for this post (viewable in the BCcampus News section at the bottom of our homepage) is by Tim Douglas from Pexels