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New Characteristics Statement for micro-credentials now available

Date: May 30 - 2022

Characteristics Statement for micro-credentials is now available from the QAA website. The Characteristics Statement has been produced by QAA on behalf of our members and the wider higher education sector following dialogue with our Advisory Network.

Micro-credentials can be studied independently of a traditional qualification, having standalone value as well as the opportunity to contribute to a larger package of learning. They fulfil a range of important purposes, including upskilling and reskilling the workforce and supporting social mobility through the creation of accessible pathways into higher education for non-traditional learners.

The Micro-credentials Characteristics Statement describes some of the typical features of a micro-credential, including how they differ from traditional qualifications or ‘macro-credentials’. The Statement also explores the characteristics of micro-credential learners, and the implications of micro-credentials for admissions and access, including the role of Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL). Course design, particularly the development of pathways through ‘stackable’ credits is also a focus of the Statement.

Characteristics Statements are produced by QAA in our capacity as a membership organisation. They are used by higher education providers in the design and development of new provision and as a reference point when reviewing or revalidating existing provision. They provide general guidance for the distinctive features and structures of types of courses and qualifications, allowing for flexibility and innovation in design within a framework agreed by the subject community.

We are grateful to the members of the Advisory Network who contributed to the development of this Characteristics Statement, in collaboration with QAA colleagues. The Advisory Network comprised representatives from QAA Member institutions from the public and private sectors across the UK.

QAA’s Director of Membership, Quality Enhancement and Standards, Dr Ailsa Crum said: 'As interest continues to grow globally in micro-credentials and modular qualifications, this Characteristics Statement provides a comprehensive overview of this particular approach to learning. We hope that this Statement will prove useful not only to QAA Members and higher education providers designing their own micro-credentials, but also to policymakers in the development of national strategies for micro-credentials.'