What is micro certification, and how can it help your certification program?

Micro certification is just what it sounds like: mini certification courses that allow learners to break their certification process into smaller, more digestible steps, or else gain certification in specialized areas that are most relevant to their needs. It’s a popular and growing segment within many industries, and one that provides a lot of opportunity to certification providers.

Read more: 5 Benefits of Micro Courses

The benefits for learners are already well-established. According to a survey of 6000 IT professionals by Linux Academy and Cybrary Survey, most people taking IT micro certification courses are motivated by a desire to keep up with changing technologies, or a preference for learning at their own pace. In fact, 86% of respondents said they preferred “learning and testing in smaller parts with course milestones in order to receive an IT skill credential.”

So, how can your business leverage this growing interest in micro certification for your online program? We’ve thought of a few ways you can work this trend to your advantage.

1. Split your current certification course into smaller pieces.

This won’t work for every certification program. If your course is structured such that each module is a progression on the one before it, breaking them apart will have little value. However, if your certification course covers a number of related subjects that don’t necessarily build on each other, offering them as separate micro certifications might be a more attractive option.

As an example, let’s say you offer certification in Microsoft Office. Modules in your course cover training in Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, Excel, etc. You can continue offering your Microsoft Office course, but a learner who is only interested in learning Excel may not be interested in having to pay full price for training in other programs they don’t need.

By offering separate micro certifications, learners can choose only those courses that are relevant to them. And, if the cumulative cost of taking each micro certification course separately is more than that of taking the full Microsoft Office certification, those who do opt for the full course will feel they’re getting more for their money.

2. Offer micro certification bundles.

Let’s say you have a course in six modules, each of which can be broken down into its own micro certification course. Then let’s say that you sell each micro certification course for a quarter of the full course. Anyone who’s good at math can see that micro certification saves them money if only one or two of those modules are relevant to them, but that for four or more modules the full course is a better deal. Essentially, your full certification course is a “bundle” package of your micro certification courses.

But you don’t have to limit this approach to related course modules. One of the great advantages of micro certification to learners is the ability to pick and choose only the most relevant material. Some of that material may be strongly related to each other, but other material might be less obviously connected.

For instance, a massage therapist might have several certifications relating to jaw and neck musculature to better treat migraines, jaw clenching, and other similar chronic problems. But that same massage therapist may want to take FDA-related certification to produce and sell lotions and oils in their massage studio.

Individually, those certifications may not have a lot to do with each other, but for the massage therapist, an opportunity to assemble a custom bundle of micro certification courses could be highly valuable.

3. Experiment with new course ideas.

Micro certification courses also allow you to learn faster and refine your materials based on learner feedback. Because smaller courses require fewer resources to develop, they are the ideal testing ground for your long-shot ideas.

You can create and deploy a micro certification course in an unusual subject, or using a non-traditional teaching method, with much lower risk if the course fails. And if the course proves unexpectedly successful, you can translate that learning to new course ideas.

4. Offer a larger portfolio of courses.

One reason people become so excited about education is because of the possibilities it offers. For people who have an innate interest in building their capabilities and growing their knowledge, there are few things as tempting as a long course list of affordable education opportunities.

Unfortunately, that also means that a short course list can be a significant disappointment.

When someone has come to your website looking for certification courses to help them improve in their field, they’re probably interested in seeing a robust menu of course options. You don’t want to wet their educational appetite only to leave them hungry for more.

If you’ve only developed one or two large courses, micro certification courses help you expand your course listing. With more on offer, learners will have plenty of options to choose from.

Micro certification provides a business opportunity you can’t pass up.

Micro certification courses cost less than full certification courses, which is another reason for their popularity. But that doesn’t mean you make less off them than you do on full certification courses.

On the contrary: micro certification courses are an easier sell than full certification courses. With a lower barrier-to-entry, more learners will be willing to give your course a chance. You’ll sell more courses and spread your brand reputation more rapidly as your recipients share their success online.

Read more: Certificate Builder Has Arrived!

Here’s another piece of good news: the new Certificate Builder add-on from LearnDash makes it easier for you to design and issue certificates for your courses. In just a few clicks, using all the WordPress block editing functions you’re used to, you can have a branded, professional certificate ready to issue your users. It’s the perfect way to increase the value of your course and build your brand prestige at the same time.

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About Laura Lynch

Laura is a marketing specialist with experience presenting at WordPress events in Ann Arbor and Vienna. She speaks Russian and German and holds a double MA (Hons) in History and Russian Studies from the University of Edinburgh.

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