FutureLearn Logo

10th Mar 2020: The landscape of post-secondary education is changing with the emergence of new credentials that are engaging millions of learners.

So-called “alternative credentials” – such as micro-credentials, digital badges and industry-recognised certificates – have expanded their scale considerably, as a consequence of a rising demand for upskilling and reskilling, as well as a sharp reduction in the unit cost of provision made possible by digitalisation.

Higher education institutions, businesses and other institutions are actively offering alternative credentials that help learners acquire new skills, update their existing skills and signal the competencies they already have.

Despite an increasing volume of these new credentials, great uncertainty persists.

This working paper, "The Emergence of Alternative Credentials" aims to assist policy makers across the OECD by defining terminologies, identifying the characteristics of these credentials, looking at providers and learners of these credentials, and examining how employers and governments perceive these credentials.

University of Glasgow launches 7 new FutureLearn microcredentials in response to pandemic 

21st May 2020: @UofGlasgow and @FutureLearn launch New suite of online courses to meet some of the challenges of a world pandemic.

The University of Glasgow has launched seven new online courses tailored to provide vital new skills and that are particularly relevant to the current Coronavirus pandemic.

The University’s first microcredentials – five delivering healthcare-related skills and two further courses in business management – are delivered in partnership with FutureLearn, the leading social learning platform, which has already partnered with the University in delivering a number of other online short courses and degrees.

Microcredentials are accredited online courses designed to help learners build specialised skills relevant to their career.

The University has received £841,000 support from the Scottish Funding Council’s Upskilling Fund 2019-20 which has a specific aim of developing the capacities of universities to provide support for employees and employers to upskill and reskill, thus allowing the higher education sector to be more agile in its response to local and national economic changes.  The funding supports the development of the course and subsidises the cost of these courses for Scottish employees.

Dr Donna MacKinnon, Director of Access, Learning and Outcomes at the Scottish Funding Council, said:

“It great to see that the University of Glasgow has been able to develop resources that respond so well to current needs.  I’m delighted that our funding has been used in such an innovative way and that it has been able to demonstrate the responsiveness of Scotland’s higher education sector.”

Professor Moira Fischbacher-Smith, Vice-Principal of Learning and Teaching at the University of Glasgow, said:

“The SFC funding has allowed us to develop new approaches to learning that are aimed at supporting employers and employees in the workplace and that focus on skills development.  The timing of these developments means we very much hope that this provision will help the collective response to Covid-19.”

Five of the courses, delivered through the College of Medical, Veterinary and Life Sciences at the University, are: 

  1. ▪       Impact of Trauma on Mental Health
  2. ▪       Introduction to Health Economics & Health Technology Assessment
  3. ▪       Introduction to Management & Leadership in Health Services
  4. ▪       Teaching Healthcare Professionals
  5. ▪       Veterinary Practitioners & the Food Supply Chain

A further two courses are delivered by the Adam Smith Business School:

  1. ▪       Change Management
  2. ▪       Practical Project Management

Justin Cooke, Chief Content and Partnerships Officer at FutureLearn, said:

“The current work landscape is undergoing unprecedented change, with thousands of roles being augmented and millions currently unable to work. As a result, more people are in need of relevant, flexible and accessible resources to help them upskill or reskill so that they can not only weather this change but continue to thrive beyond it. Microcredentials offer just that, and FutureLearn is delighted to partner with the University of Glasgow to deliver a new set of accredited and career-focussed microcredentials that we hope professionals in healthcare and business management will find incredibly valuable.”

John Kerr, Learning Innovation Unit Manager at the University of Glasgow, said:

“We understand the demand from learners and industry and have a targeted focus for our first seven courses that prioritises industry-relevant content and assignments.”

The new microcredential qualifications are worth 10 credits towards a Masters degree and provide learners with a springboard to further qualifications.

The Change Management course, for instance, comes at a time when businesses across the world are having to implement change at speed as a starting point.

The course on “The Impact of Trauma on Mental Health” considers how individuals who have experienced trauma can be supported empathetically, effectively and professionally.

Educational credentials come of age: a survey on the use and value of educational credentials in hiring

Dec 2018: This report, "Educational credentials come of age: a survey on the use and value of educational credentials in hiring" compiles the findings of a research survey of 750 human resources leaders, focusing on the future of educational credentials and their value and use in the workplace.

It provides insights on critical questions such as:

  • how the value of various educational credentials is evolving;
  • how rapidly skills-based hiring approaches are being pursued;
  • how online degrees and microcredentials are perceived;
  • what hiring leaders view as the key signals of quality; and
  • what the viability of various new credential constructs and degree alternatives is.

These perspectives from the employer community can influence the strategies of postsecondary institutions, policymakers, educational technology companies, employers themselves, and other stakeholders in the ecosystem.

The report found that:

  1. The relative value of educational credentials in hiring has held steady or increased for most employers over the last five years;
  2. Nearly half of employers report that they have increased the level of education preferred or required for the same job roles over the last five years;
  3. A majority of HR leaders believe that in the future, the need for continuous lifelong learning will demand higher levels of education and more credentials;
  4. Skills-based or competency-based hiring appears to be gaining significant interest and momentum over degrees exclusively;
  5. Online credentials are now mainstream, with a solid majority of HR leaders believing that credentials earned online are of generally equal quality to those completed in-person;
  6. Employer awareness and experience with candidates who hold non-degree 'microcredentials' is still relatively low - but this is evolving rapidly. Microcredentials are typically serving as supplements rather than substitutes for traditional degrees;
  7. Work-integrated learning and curriculum that is industry-aligned and employer-validated are highly prioritized by employers as indicators of credential quality and;
  8. In the years ahead, pre-hire assessment, talent analytics, microcredentialing, and other innovations in hiring and credentialing are poised to challenge the historical emphasis on college degrees in hiring.

You may also be interested in these articles:

Adaptations for 21-22 and beyond - #FutureOfAssessment Episode 3

Sponsored Video

Register, Login or Login with your Social Media account:


Upcoming FE Events

Advertiser Skyscrapers

Newsroom Activity

FE News: The Future of Education News Channel had a status update on Twitter 24 minutes ago

RT @FENews: Universities and business collaborate on low carbon innovation with Eco-I North West:  Over 80 businesses are collaborating wit…
View Original Tweet

Latest Education News

Further Education News

The FE News Channel gives you the latest education news and updates on emerging education strategies and the #FutureofEducation and the #FutureofWork.

Providing trustworthy and positive Further Education news and views since 2003, we are a digital news channel with a mixture of written word articles, podcasts and videos. Our specialisation is providing you with a mixture of the latest education news, our stance is always positive, sector building and sharing different perspectives and views from thought leaders, to provide you with a think tank of new ideas and solutions to bring the education sector together and come up with new innovative solutions and ideas.

FE News publish exclusive peer to peer thought leadership articles from our feature writers, as well as user generated content across our network of over 3000 Newsrooms, offering multiple sources of the latest education news across the Education and Employability sectors.

FE News also broadcast live events, podcasts with leading experts and thought leaders, webinars, video interviews and Further Education news bulletins so you receive the latest developments in Skills News and across the Apprenticeship, Further Education and Employability sectors.

Every week FE News has over 200 articles and new pieces of content per week. We are a news channel providing the latest Further Education News, giving insight from multiple sources on the latest education policy developments, latest strategies, through to our thought leaders who provide blue sky thinking strategy, best practice and innovation to help look into the future developments for education and the future of work.

In Jan 2021, FE News had over 173,000 unique visitors according to Google Analytics and over 200 new pieces of news content every week, from thought leadership articles, to the latest education news via written word, podcasts, video to press releases from across the sector, putting us in the top 2,000 websites in the UK.

We thought it would be helpful to explain how we tier our latest education news content and how you can get involved and understand how you can read the latest daily Further Education news and how we structure our FE Week of content:

Main Features

Our main features are exclusive and are thought leadership articles and blue sky thinking with experts writing peer to peer news articles about the future of education and the future of work. The focus is solution led thought leadership, sharing best practice, innovation and emerging strategy. These are often articles about the future of education and the future of work, they often then create future education news articles. We limit our main features to a maximum of 20 per week, as they are often about new concepts and new thought processes. Our main features are also exclusive articles responding to the latest education news, maybe an insight from an expert into a policy announcement or response to an education think tank report or a white paper.

FE Voices

FE Voices was originally set up as a section on FE News to give a voice back to the sector. As we now have over 3,000 newsrooms and contributors, FE Voices are usually thought leadership articles, they don’t necessarily have to be exclusive, but usually are, they are slightly shorter than Main Features. FE Voices can include more mixed media with the Further Education News articles, such as embedded podcasts and videos. Our sector response articles asking for different comments and opinions to education policy announcements or responding to a report of white paper are usually held in the FE Voices section. If we have a live podcast in an evening or a radio show such as SkillsWorldLive radio show, the next morning we place the FE podcast recording in the FE Voices section.

Sector News

In sector news we have a blend of content from Press Releases, education resources, reports, education research, white papers from a range of contributors. We have a lot of positive education news articles from colleges, awarding organisations and Apprenticeship Training Providers, press releases from DfE to Think Tanks giving the overview of a report, through to helpful resources to help you with delivering education strategies to your learners and students.


We have a range of education podcasts on FE News, from hour long full production FE podcasts such as SkillsWorldLive in conjunction with the Federation of Awarding Bodies, to weekly podcasts from experts and thought leaders, providing advice and guidance to leaders. FE News also record podcasts at conferences and events, giving you one on one podcasts with education and skills experts on the latest strategies and developments.

We have over 150 education podcasts on FE News, ranging from EdTech podcasts with experts discussing Education 4.0 and how technology is complimenting and transforming education, to podcasts with experts discussing education research, the future of work, how to develop skills systems for jobs of the future to interviews with the Apprenticeship and Skills Minister.

We record our own exclusive FE News podcasts, work in conjunction with sector partners such as FAB to create weekly podcasts and daily education podcasts, through to working with sector leaders creating exclusive education news podcasts.

Education Video Interviews

FE News have over 700 FE Video interviews and have been recording education video interviews with experts for over 12 years. These are usually vox pop video interviews with experts across education and work, discussing blue sky thinking ideas and views about the future of education and work.


FE News has a free events calendar to check out the latest conferences, webinars and events to keep up to date with the latest education news and strategies.

FE Newsrooms

The FE Newsroom is home to your content if you are a FE News contributor. It also help the audience develop relationship with either you as an individual or your organisation as they can click through and ‘box set’ consume all of your previous thought leadership articles, latest education news press releases, videos and education podcasts.

Do you want to contribute, share your ideas or vision or share a press release?

If you want to write a thought leadership article, share your ideas and vision for the future of education or the future of work, write a press release sharing the latest education news or contribute to a podcast, first of all you need to set up a FE Newsroom login (which is free): once the team have approved your newsroom (all content, newsrooms are all approved by a member of the FE News team- no robots are used in this process!), you can then start adding content (again all articles, videos and podcasts are all approved by the FE News editorial team before they go live on FE News). As all newsrooms and content are approved by the FE News team, there will be a slight delay on the team being able to review and approve content.

 RSS IconRSS Feed Selection Page