We continue to have discussions with our clients about the value of micro-credentials in the new future of work, and how BOLDLY can be part of the new badging standards.
This is a real shift that impacts both individuals’ career choices as well as organisations expectations for hiring and development.
With the new reality of our 100 year life-spans, and trends towards gig work and portfolio careers, people are going to be working for longer, across a broader span of tasks.
Think of an accountant who previously did their BA, perhaps started a cadetship and took on their CPA/CA through night study, and gradually moved up through the ladder to Senior Accountant, Manager and Partner within their firm.
The main skills they had to take on were people management and business development skills, with some minor continuous development of their technical accounting skills.
Now, in the new economy, if this person qualifies as an accountant, but decides to go and do a stint in a corporate accounting setting, then branch out and work with a few ongoing SME clients, and pick up projects with larger corporates throughout the year… all of a sudden they need much stronger project management, stakeholder management, and commercial skills.
The nature of the modern gig economy requires a completely different bag of capabilities.
In the first career scenario, a weakness in the accountants competency could be picked up through the team around them, but in this new work scenario any professional weakness has a direct impact on their personal income, and market reputation.
This new fragmented work-scape puts a lot more emphasis on individuals skills and competencies for specialised, project-based work, and also means the ongoing responsibility to maintain skills will shift from the employer to that individual.
The accountant now needs to be responsible for understanding how their career works, and what decisions to make, whereas a good Manager or HR might have done this for them in the past.
So, micro-doses of training mean that these individuals can not only stay relevant, keep the momentum of their project work without taking time out for study, but also sends a clear message to their clients and the market that they’re proactively investing in continuously improving their service and efficacy.
Career progression for this future-state is going to be even more reliant on market reputation and performance, and ongoing learning sends a clear message to clients that an individual is staying at the cutting edge of their service offering.
Micro-learning and credentialing makes perfect sense based on where the job market is headed, but it’s going to take a significant shift from ‘users’ before we see massive uptake AND completion.
We’ve had hundreds of years of institutions (employers and universities) training individuals in society to expect a certain pattern in learning (i.e. classroom based and linear) and careers (i.e. determined by the company or industry).
Many individuals have been passengers in their careers up to this point, and now we’re saying they need to take the drivers seat. Some people consciously say they want to do it, but the proof is in the pudding when we analyse the actual behaviours – the drop out rate for paid e-learning is still over 97%.
It takes a really dedicated person to see through a learning goal when they’re running solo – so the industry still has work to do in building in social elements like accountability partners and coaching to get the outcomes.
The promise of a certificate isn’t always enough to get a user over the line, and the certificate itself doesn’t necessarily demonstrate efficacy of skill, so while the trend is powerful, we need to start thinking more as behavioural economists and bring our organisational psychologists out of business and into society to get this happening in a real way.