Glossary of Micro-Credential Terms


Alternative Credential: Non-traditional (non-degree) credentials offered by institutions of higher education, which may be for credit or non-credit. Typically issued in a digital format. 

Badge (Digital): An award that indicates an accomplishment or skill that can be displayed, accessed, and verified online.  

Certificate: An academic program (undergraduate, graduate or professional level) based on a free-standing body of knowledge, often interdisciplinary in nature.  

Competency: Learnable, measurable, and/or observable knowledge and skill sets gained.  

Credentials: A digital badge is issued upon successful completion of a micro-credential program.  

Criteria: The knowledge, skills or competencies that need to be demonstrated by a learner to earn a credential.  

Earner: An individual that completes the requirements to earn a digital credential.  

Evidence: The assessment artifact or product associated with a credential that demonstrates the accomplishment of the criteria (e.g., video, oral presentation).  

Issuer: An organization or individual responsible for issuing badges.  

Metadata: Described as “the guts” of a digital badge which provides information regarding the requirements a learner demonstrated to earn the credential along with the evidence of completion.  

Micro-credential: A short program that allows students to gain industry-relevant skills and/or other competencies.  

Open Badge: Open badges are portable credentials containing metadata that offer detailed information about the achievements being credentialed. 

Stackable Credential: Part of a sequence of credentials that can be accumulated over time to build up an individual’s qualifications and help that individual move along a career pathway and further education.  

Verifiable: Confirmation that a credential is authentic, accurate and legitimate and has been awarded by an institution to a specific learner.