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During 2021-23, QAA Scotland is undertaking a tertiary sector-wide project entitled 'Understanding Micro-credentials and Small Qualifications in Scotland'. This project aims to enhance understanding and practice in the Scottish sector's micro-credentials field. A Scottish Tertiary Education Network for Micro-credentials has been established to support the project and to gain a sector understanding of the development, use and delivery of micro-credentials and small qualifications. Network members include:

  • Chair - Professor Jonathan Powles, Vice-Principal, Learning and Students, University of the West of Scotland
  • Deputy Chair - Dr Anne Tierney, Assistant Professor, Learning and Teaching Academy, Heriot-Watt University
  • Representatives from higher education, colleges, students and stakeholder groups.

    Research undertaken by QAA Scotland to support this project, including a practitioner survey undertaken in winter 2021, has shown that a wide range of micro-credentials and small qualifications are available in Scotland. Still, it is difficult for potential learners (and employers) to navigate the various providers’ websites to find out what is available, including details about the size, level, and portability of awards and the need for consistency in the language used.


    The Network has produced a glossary of a shared language for the tertiary sector to help address the language issue and to aid the understanding of micro-credentials among key stakeholders (including students, employers and PSRBs).


    We have provided a snapshot of the micro-credentials and small qualifications from results of a sector-wide survey that we carried out with colleges, HEIs and other credit-rating bodies in spring 2023.


    The Network is delighted to have completed the Good Practice Guide for Micro-credentials and Small Qualifications in Scotland, which you can access below. The Guide sets out principles and practices agreed upon by various stakeholders throughout the Network. It provides a starting point for designing and developing micro-credentials to ensure they are well-designed and fit for purpose. This innovative Guide uses inclusive language for the tertiary sector. It is aimed at colleges, HEIs and other credit-rating bodies in Scotland to help learners pursue micro-credentials, by providing a level of assurance that all awards meet baseline principles and adhere to good practices.


    To further enhance the awareness and understanding of the range of micro-credential practices in Scotland, we are publishing a range of case studies on this page. 


    The Enhancement Theme project builds on previous collaborative cluster work, collaborative models of practice in Scottish colleges and the UK-wide QAA Characteristics Statement for Micro-credentials.


    Good Practice Guide for Micro-credentials and Small Qualifications in Scotland

    Publication date: 17 Aug 2023

    Micro-credentials in Scotland: Sector-wide Survey

    Publication date: 22 Jun 2023

    We hosted a micro-credentials webinar on 9 May 2022 to consider international perspectives. A recording of the webinar is available to listen to. It featured:

    • Professor Jonathan Powles, UWS
    • Professor Dr Khairul Salleh bin Mohamed Sahari, Deputy CEO Malaysian Qualifications Agency
    • Marsyitah Ismail, Head of Learning Services, SEA, OpenLearning.

    Practitioner Perspectives Survey - Micro-credentials in Scotland

    Publication date: 24 Aug 2022

    Case Studies

    Here are a range of case studies of micro-credentials and small qualifications. These case studies provide examples of the wide range of practice currently available in Scotland, including specific micro-credentials and short courses, as well as related processes. Further case studies will be added as the project continues over spring and summer 2023.


    Case Study: On-demand learning for workforce upskilling

    Publication date: 08 Mar 2023

    Case Study: 'Enhancing your Teaching' short course

    Publication date: 08 Mar 2023

    Case Study: 'Student Resilience: Moving from Surviving to Thriving' short course

    Publication date: 08 Mar 2023

    Case Study: Credit rating micro-credentials

    Publication date: 08 Mar 2023

    Case Study: 'Fundamentals of Cyber Security'

    Publication date: 08 Mar 2023


    Micro-credentials: The college approach

    Siobhán Wilson, Dean of Faculty, Hospitality and Leisure at City of Glasgow College and member of the Scottish Tertiary Network for Micro-credentials, has written a blog to support this Enhancement Themes project.
    The importance of unique learning artefacts and portfolios in micro-credential courses

    Marsyitah Ismail Head of Learning Services South-East Asia (SEA), OpenLearning, has written a blog to support this Enhancement Themes project.