National Microcredentials Framework

DESE has undertaken extensive consultation with the wider tertiary sector to develop the National Microcredentials Framework. The framework’s goal is to provide greater clarity and understanding within the tertiary education sector and amongst learners as to the value and recognition of microcredentials.

The framework should also encourage transparency, consistency and objectivity in the sector around credit recognition arrangements and the portability of microcredentials.

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Background

As part of the 2020-21 Job-Ready Graduates Package, the Australian Government announced funding of $4.2 million to develop a Microcredentials Marketplace (the Marketplace). This will be a nationally consistent platform for students to compare short course offerings and credit point value.

In early 2021, the Marketplace project conducted user research with a variety of learners, higher education providers and employers. This research highlighted the lack of a national framework as a key barrier to the development of microcredentials in Australia.

A significant number of Federal and State Government projects are now underway to fund, trial, collate and credentialise microcredentials. These projects define and fund microcredentials differently, and without a clear framework, they risk embedding inconsistency into the future. Simultaneously, many providers have developed their own credit recognition or microcredential policies. Multiple reports have recommended the establishment of guidelines that microcredentials should follow, including the Australian Qualifications Framework Review 2019.

Released in March 2022, the National Microcredentials Framework (the Framework) will provide greater clarity and understanding within the tertiary education sector and amongst learners as to the value, structure and recognition of microcredentials. The Framework will also create and encourage transparency, consistency and objectivity in the sector around credit recognition arrangements for microcredentials.

Stakeholder Consultation

The Framework has been the product of broad consultation with over 120 individuals from approximately 70 organisations and an environment scan that included consideration of over 35 different definitions and multiple existing frameworks.

Throughout the development of the Framework, the Microcredentials Working Group was convened to represent relevant institutions and bodies to consult on the development of the framework and its subsequent implementation plan.

Membership consisted of higher education, VET, peak body and industry representatives, and was chaired by Emeritus Professor Beverley Oliver. The Working Group has provided a forum for consensus-based discussion with the sector and key peak bodies to ensure an effective and functional framework design.

Members include:

  • Emeritus Professor Beverley Oliver (Chair) – EduBrief
  • Dr Peter Beven – QUT
  • Ms Jenny Dodd – TAFE Directors Australia
  • Ms Danielle Donegan – DESE
  • Ms Julie Healy – TAFE Queensland
  • Ms Megan Lilly – Ai Group
  • Professor Sandra Milligan – University of Melbourne
  • Professor Philippa Pattison – University of Sydney
  • Mr Mike Pope – Business Council of Australia
  • Ms Beth Pridmore – Curtin University
  • Mr Craig Robertson – Victorian Government
  • Professor Michael Sankey – Charles Darwin University
  • Dr Ratna Selvaratnam – Edith Cowan University
  • Professor Belinda Tynan – Australian Catholic University
  • Mr Troy Williams – Independent Tertiary Education Council Australia
  • Professor Sherman Young – RMIT

Implications

The Government will be utilising the Framework to be embedded in the Microcredentials Marketplace.  The Framework will guide the development of both functional and visual elements of the Marketplace platform. It will also be considered as part of work being undertaken in collaboration between the Commonwealth and States and Territories to enhance the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF).

It is hoped that the development and implementation of this framework in conjunction with the Marketplace will encourage greater cohesion in the design, development and delivery of microcredentials across both the Australian education system and broader industry.

Key Documents