Microcredentials are part of the higher education trend toward modularity and stackability. They involve combining small, individual learning units into broader, cohesive qualifications. In that sense, they live somewhere in the space between single courses and full degrees.
Class Central has been keeping track of MOOC-based microcredentials since 2013, when edX launched the first microcredential: XSeries. Since then, all major providers have launched their own microcredentials, often trademarking them.
For instance, Coursera packages courses into microcredentials such as Specializations, Professional Certificates, and MasterTracks. And edX, into Professional Certificates, MicroBachelors, or MicroMasters.
In 2018, we analyzed 450 microcredentials and found little consistency between them. Their cost and effort estimates varied widely. In addition, we found there’s as much variability within each microcredential type as across different types.
The hype around microcredentials has subsided a bit in favor of online degrees. But the microcredential offering has continued to grow. By the end of 2021, there were 1500+ microcredentials. Now, in 2022, there are 2500 microcredentials, with Coursera’s Specializations making up almost one-third of them.
A Class Central analysis shows that ~75% of the microcredentials are in business and technology.
You can find microcredentials in Class Central’s catalog the same way you do courses. Below is a list of the different types of microcredentials broken down by provider. Click on a link to jump to the relevant section.
Dhawal is the CEO of Class Central, the most popular search engine and review site for online courses and MOOCs. He has completed over a dozen MOOCs and has written over 200 articles about the MOOC space, including contributions to TechCrunch, EdSurge, Quartz, and VentureBeat.