Building a connected micro-certification ecosystem

eCampusOntario’s work aims to strengthen and expand micro-certification activity in Ontario through a common framework and community of practice.

In Summer 2019, eCampusOntario formed a working group to co-create micro-certification initiatives and establish a common currency. Working group members from across sectors developed a framework to build connections between post-secondary institutions and the Ontario workforce. The results are captured in the Principles and Framework document. This document is intended as a high-level guide for micro-certifications in the province so that unique regional initiatives align to a common provincial framework.  

eCampusOntario encourages the adoption of the framework for new and existing micro-certification initiatives both in Ontario and beyond our borders. If you are interested in learning more, fill out the form below.

Download the Principles and Framework document

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Pilot Projects

In late 2019, eCampusOntario engaged with 14 member institutions and their industry partners to test the principles and framework as a means to ensure that micro-certification activity is relevant to the labour market and maintains rigorous assessment, evidence and validation standards. Since the last set of pilots, leaders across post-secondary education and government have demonstrated significant support for efforts which lead to closer alignment between education and industry.

In spring 2020, eCampusOntario released an expression of interest (EOI) for a second set of micro-certification pilots.

Download the Expression of Interest

View an informational webinar here

Here is a list of the partners that participated in the first round of pilots:

Partners: Conestoga College, Workforce Planning Board of Grand Erie
Pilot: Adapt existing content of Connect2Skills, a micro-certification for upskilling workers in warehousing and logistics, to align with eCampusOntario framework elements of verifiability, ownership and extensibility

Partners: George Brown College, Deafblind Community Services, The Canadian Helen Keller Centre, Deaf Blind Ontario Services
Pilot: Create new content to issue micro-certifications in deafblind intervening, evaluating proficiency and accuracy in medical communication skills (e.g. American Sign Language)

Partners: Humber College, Purolator
Pilot: Create new content to issue micro-certifications in data fluency for freight and parcel delivery workers (and possibly other positions within the organization)

Partners: Lambton College, Tertec Enterprises Inc., Link2Feed, CCI Studios Inc., Cipher Interactive Inc.
Pilot: Create new content to issue micro-certifications Internet of Things and Modern Web Design in Sarnia-Lambton region

Partners: OCAD University, Myant Inc.
Pilot: Create new content to issue micro-certifications for user-centered product design in wearable technology

Partners: Ontario Tech, Lakeridge Health
Pilot: Create new content to issue micro-certifications in safe patient transfer and injury prevention to health care workers and students in BHSc programs

Partners: Queen’s University, City of Kingston
Pilot: To create scalable Design Thinking content & micro-certifications for individuals and groups within Queen’s University, the Kingston community, and beyond

Partners: Sault College, Project Learning Tree Canada
Pilot: Create new content to issue micro-certifications to current forest practitioners and up-and-coming forestry professionals in the understanding and application of Indigenous rights and relationship building

Partners: St. Lawrence College, City of Kingston
Pilot: Create new content to issue micro-certifications in intercultural intelligence to assist City of Kingston with implementation of Workplace Inclusion Charter

Partners: University of Waterloo, Electricity Human Resources Canada
Pilot: Adapt existing content to issue micro-certifications in teamwork and communication

Partners: Western University, Big Brothers Big Sisters of London Area, Pillar Nonprofit Network
Pilot: Adapt existing content to issue micro-certifications in change management for non-profit workers

Partners: Wilfrid Laurier University, The Brantford Police Service
Pilot: Create new content to issue micro-certifications to enhance detection and improve communication for police officers investigating human trafficking cases

Partners: University of Windsor, TransForm Shared Services Organization
Pilot: Adapt existing content to issue micro-certifications in Health Informatics to skilled workers and support the 2020 implementation of a new hospital information system in Windsor-Essex, Erie St. Clair and Chatham regional health services

Partners: York University, Markham Stouffville Hospital, Black Creek Community Health Centre, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, University Health Network, Access Alliance Community Health Centre, Lassonde School of Engineering
Pilot: Adapt existing content to issue micro-certifications to health care workers in health coaching and patient navigation.

Research and Reports

In an on-going effort to promote knowledge and awareness of micro-certification, eCampusOntario has engaged consultants for research in both local and global contexts.

Download Micro-certification Business Models in Higher Education 

Download Micro-certifications: Policy and Regulatory Context in Ontario 

What is a micro-certification?

RMIT University in Australia provides a helpful description of both digital credentials and micro-credentials, which fall under the category of micro-certifications.

“A digital credential is the official certification of the acquisition of an individual’s skills or capabilities. It is awarded in a digital form, which is verified, secure and shareable with peers, employers and educational providers. Digital credentials can be curated, annotated, and distributed over digital networks under the earner’s control.

Micro-credentials also certify an individual’s achievements in specific skills and differ from traditional education credentials, such as degrees and diplomas, in that they are shorter, can be personalised and provide distinctive value and relevance in the changing world of work.”

— RMIT University

Why micro-certification now?

Micro-certifications can be used to recognize both vertical and transversal skills. Coupled with the in-depth learning obtained in a field of study, micro-credentials can be used to present a more holistic view of an individual’s abilities and achievements.

In today’s fast-changing workforce and emerging gig economy, a nimble recognition system is essential for both professionals and employers, who are increasingly moving towards skill or competency-based hiring.

For more information, contact Emma Gooch, Program Lead.