The MicroHE partnership reviewed educational literature and leading news sources for higher education to identify existing references and definitions relevant to

  • prior learning recognition,
  • nano-degrees,
  • certification of short cycle higher education, and
  • modularised higher education

in order to establish a European terminology of micro-credentials. The analysis included both accredited and non-accredited credentials, and encompassed developments globally.

To make the results of these efforts more widely acknowledged,  MicroHE developed strategic collaboration with another Erasmus+ co-funded initiative, the European Short Learning Programmes (e-SLP). Along a series of bilateral and panel consultations, the two projects worked at the harmonisation of their glossaries. Below is a tabled presentation of the resulting short descriptions of key terms.

Credential“An educational credential is a documented statement that acknowledges a person’s learning outcomes or achievements. A credential can be used for…”Credentialisation is the acknowledgement of learner’s learning outcomes or achievements. It should be seen as part of the process of recognition. (Definition partially formed and adopted from JRC)
Micro-credentialSub-unit of a credential or credentials (could be micro, meso, mini, etc.) that could accumulate into a larger credentials or be part of a portfolioIn some languages (e.g. in Italian) there is a translation problem with the term micro-credential
Qualification‘Qualification’ means a formal outcome of an assessment and validation process which is obtained when a competent authority or body determines that an individual has achieved learning outcomes to given standards. Qualifications from part of the European Qualification Framework.
Micro-qualificationA sub-unit of a qualification. While generally micro-qualifications are not mapped to EQF, some countries allow for this possibility (e.g. Malta) and non-EU countries copy the practice too (e.g. Singapore).This term is also known as ‘partial qualification’
RecognitionProcess of acknowledging and accepting a statement of any type of credential
Learning Passport“An official document that contains the description of the learning a person has done. For example a Credit Supplement (diploma supplement for smaller achievements)”The term ‘Learning Passport’ is also used by the OEPass project
Credentials ClearinghouseRepository of digitised, processed ‘Learning Passport’ content