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The Power of Micro-Credentials: Unlocking Learning Opportunities

In the ever-evolving and changing landscape of work life, education, and professional development, micro-credentials have emerged as a potential force. These bite-sized certifications pack a punch, offering learners a flexible and personalized path to skill acquisition and recognition.

This blog talks about the development work of the OnTheMIC - Micro-credentials as a means of recognition and validation of learning - Erasmus+ KA2 project, which focuses on how micro-credentials can be used to identify and recognize the skills of learners in vulnerable situations who need special support in their studies and employment.

OTM-1                 Erasmus+-2  




Our journey with the OnTheMIC - project of collaboration, innovation, and empowerment has come to an end, and we are proud to share some outcomes of our efforts. With a diverse team spanning Finland, Germany, Belgium, Greece, and Iceland we embarked on a mission to address the needs of adult learners, particularly those in vulnerable situations in the labor market.



What we aimed for

The idea in the OnTheMIC- project originated from the need to provide easy-to-use methods and tools to support adult learners, including migrants, disabled individuals, long-term unemployed, and especially those without formal education. We aimed to bridge the gap between learners and employers, providing a platform for self-assessment, skills identification, and micro-credentials.


Micro-credentials play a significant role in the realm of lifelong learning!


Micro-credentials offer a flexible and targeted way to develop lifelong and continuous learning as well as personal interests, knowledge, skills, and competencies needed for professional development and life in general.

We wanted to strengthen the concept of target group learning, where learning takes place throughout life by highlighting and recognizing the ways and combination of formal, non-formal, and informal learning. These three approaches to learning often complement each other. Individuals can use these different forms of learning to develop and identify their skills and knowledge. In practice, individuals are engaging and exposed to the dynamic interaction of formal, informal, and informal learning throughout their lives. This combination of learning methods creates a comprehensive, holistic, and versatile approach to education and skills.

The OnTheMIC- project focused on adult learning processes that considered their previously acquired knowledge and skills. Adults acquire knowledge, and skills either formally, non-formally, or informally. Taking different learning styles into account and utilizing micro-credentials, we have showed that the strengths and skills accumulated in various stages of an adult learner's life. Identifying and recognizing competence was also a good motivation factor for adult learners to reflect on their abilities and improve their skills through continuous learning.


Lifelong learning_OTM



At the OnTheMIC - project we applied these diverse learning methods (picture above). Formal learning refers to learning in a structured environment, such as a classroom leading to a recognized qualification or certification. Non-formal learning refers to learning outside the structured environment, such as a workshop or seminar, and does not lead to a recognized qualification or certification. Informal learning is often self-directed learning that takes place through everyday experiences, such as reading a book or watching a video.

In our project, we developed a digital self-evaluation tool that enables learners to recognize and document their skills gained through non-formal and informal learning experiences. This tool facilitates personal development and enhances employability by providing tangible evidence of achievements.


Micro-credentials and Piloting

Micro-credentials became a key part of our project, providing targeted identification and recognition of competencies and skills for short-term learning experiences through piloting initiatives in locations such as the Goodwill recycle store in Helsinki, Finland, an adult education organization in Marburg, Germany, and a re-education center in Reykjanesbæ, Iceland. In the pilots, we saw the transformative effects of identifying the learners' skills, especially for those in vulnerable situations. The feedback received from the participants emphasized the importance of documentation in strengthening self-confidence and motivation and opening doors to future career opportunities.


The visualization of the process shows the phases that are needed to identify competence. It starts with identifying the work environment and defining the work tasks into small competence entities i.e. micro-credentials on a task-by-task basis. These Micro-credentials can be identified and evaluated together with both the representative of the working life (coach, instructor) and the learner.

In this process, the learner's competence is made visible and validated through assessment and documentation. Through micro-credentials, individuals can flexibly develop and evaluate the knowledge, skills, and competencies they need for personal and professional development.


Project Impact and Sustainability

The impact of the OnTheMIC- project extends beyond individual participants to the level of the organization and society. At the organizational level, our methods have led to better quality of coaching, and increased awareness of support mechanisms for learners in vulnerable situations. Involvement and joint planning with the end users (learners and representatives of working life) guarantee and increase the usability of new models and improve the user experience.

Through our project's website, we offer sustainable long-term use of the developed tools and methods. The project partners continue to work with the project's target groups and are committed to assisting in the use of the methods and tools developed in the project in the future as well.



As we conclude our journey with the OnTheMIC - project, we reflect on the progress that has been made in empowering adult learners and promoting inclusion in education and working life, we can say that our commitment to sustainable development ensures that the fruits of our work will benefit individuals and organizations long after the project ends.

Feedback from Stakeholders:

“These tools help the customers to identify their skills”

“I will present the materials for my own team”, and “I`m going to take advantage of these tools when orientating new learners`.”

“A very important and useful method of working activities for prisoners”

“Documenting small sets of skills is important, as it can have a huge impact on a prisoner's future plans”

“Can we get guidance on how to implement the method in our organization?”

We invite you to visit our website to explore our tools and methods and support lifelong learning and inclusive skills recognition for all.



We extend our gratitude to all the adult learners and their coaches or supervisors, who participated in the project's pilots, partners, stakeholders, and others who contributed to the success of the OnTheMIC - project. We are also very pleased with our ever-evolving cooperation and with the stakeholders who participated in the project's dissemination events and are interested in lifelong learning. Together, we have created equal opportunities and inclusive ways and methods that support the lives, studies, and employment of adult learners in a vulnerable position.


 By Pia Törnwall, innolive

Innovator - Service designer


Disclaimer: OntheMIC was funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or the European Education and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA). Neither the European Union nor EACEA can be held responsible for them.

The Power of Micro-Credentials: Unlocking Learning Opportunities | EPALE (


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