Hype or helpful? Micro-credentials, micro-skills, and other emerging learning models for CPD in healthcare?

Tony Brennan
First, let's define micro-credentials and micro-skills.

Micro-credentials, also known as digital badges, are online certifications that recognise the acquisition of a specific skill or knowledge area. They are typically shorter and more focused than traditional degree programs, and can be earned through a variety of methods such as online courses, workshops, or self-directed learning.

Micro-skills, on the other hand, are small, specific skills that can be quickly learned and applied in a professional setting. They can be thought of as building blocks for larger, more complex skills, and can be acquired through a variety of methods such as online courses, on-the-job training, or experiential learning.

There are several potential benefits to using micro-credentials and micro-skills for CPD in healthcare. One of the main advantages is the flexibility they offer. Micro-credentials and micro-skills can be completed at the learner's own pace, and do not require a long-term commitment like a traditional degree program. This makes them an appealing option for busy healthcare professionals who may not have the time or resources to commit to a full degree program.

Another benefit of micro-credentials and micro-skills is their focus on practical, real-world applications. Many of these programs are designed to teach skills and knowledge that can be immediately applied in a professional setting, rather than theoretical concepts that may not be as relevant or useful. This makes them a valuable resource for healthcare professionals seeking to improve their skills and stay up-to-date with the latest developments in their field.

When looking for micro-credentials or micro-skills courses, search for courses that have been developed by organisations who specialise in educating healthcare professionals such as professional associations.
In addition, micro-credentials and micro-skills can be an affordable option for CPD. Because they are shorter and more focused than traditional degree programs, they often cost less and may be more accessible to learners with limited financial resources.

There are also some potential drawbacks to using micro-credentials and micro-skills for CPD in healthcare. One concern is the issue of recognition and credibility. While some micro-credentials and micro-skills programs are offered by reputable institutions and are widely recognised in the healthcare field, others may not be as well-respected or recognised by employers or professional organizations. This can make it difficult for healthcare professionals to know which programs are worth their time and money.

To avoid any issues, look for courses that come with certification from Universities or other organisations that are recognised for academic and professional rigour. 

Despite these concerns, micro-credentials and micro-skills have the potential to be a valuable tool for CPD in the healthcare field. When used in conjunction with traditional degree programs and other forms of CPD, they can help healthcare professionals stay current on the latest developments in their field and build the specific skills and knowledge they need to succeed.