L&T micro-credentialing taxonomy

Project Complete Published by on the 16 July 2019

Project title: Investigating Learning and Teaching Frameworks and Credentialing for Professional Learning in Higher Education

The Practice Problem: Benchmarking and credentialing the ‘Foundations of learning and teaching in higher education’ programs

Currently, Australia does not have an agreed set of standards informing university teaching. While ‘benchmarking the foundations of learning and teaching in higher education’ has been explored by the IRUA institutions and CAULLT has sponsored the development of the ‘Contemporary approaches to university teaching’ modules, the credentialing of activities and modules across institutions bounded in subjects/courses and professional development modules has not yet been investigated.  Several universities have progressed Learning & Teaching staff capacity frameworks, engaged with Advanced Higher Education fellowships and subscriptions, revised or teaching out Graduate Certificates of Education courses (academic practice/tertiary teaching), and created professional development modules with the intention to micro-credential.  Much is to be gained in understanding the potential for validation, stackability and cross-institution articulation of professional development and exit pathways to probation, promotion, Advanced Higher Education (AHE) fellowships and Graduate Certificates.  In 2017 the IRUA Professional Learning CoP undertook an initial benchmarking activity on Foundation/Induction programs, and in 2018 canvassed a shared professional learning framework, and undertook a study into disaggregation (Hallett & Gabb, 2018). Universities Australia and DVCAs appointed Prof Sally Kift in 2018 to explore the university teaching and professional recognition frameworks in Australia and New Zealand, with many being influenced by the United Kingdom’s Professional Standards Framework (UKPSF) aligned to HEA fellowships (a defacto standards framework).

More recently in 2019, CAULLT, at the request of DVCAs has led the Professional Recognition and Development Research survey with preliminary results from approximately 50 per cent of institutions largely showing consistencies in programs, courses and recognition strategies. An amended survey was undertaken in May 2019 to establish a stronger baseline of activity from which this project will build. A further consideration is the rollout of the ‘teaching specialist/scholar’ positions at universities in determining and evidence-base and pathways for academics in these positions to promotion and fellowships.

A shared micro-credentialing taxonomy, as a new practice for IRUA institutions and moderated by a CAULLT Advisory Committee, is intended to be drafted and piloted to advance and enhance the quality and consistency of university teaching. The potential benefits are:

. Cross-sharing of quality learning resources in an IRUA portal and potential reciprocal benefit of specialisation and workload reduction of foundation/induction resources

. Stackability and Portability – articulation agreements across institutions aligned to a micro-credentialing taxonomy (influenced by AQF8/9, UKPSF standards, drafted Australian tertiary teaching standards and contemporary developments) into Graduate Certificates, AHE Fellowships, and evidence for promotion applications.

Project Method:

Collaborating institutions: IRUA members including James Cook University, Griffith University, Latrobe University, Murdoch University, Flinders University, Charles Darwin University, Western Sydney University

IRUA Academic Development Community of Practice members:

Lead team: Maree Dinan-Thompson, Alf Lizzio, Ruth Bridgstock, Amani Bell

Members: Andrea Lynch, Rob Fitzgerald, Georgie Avard,  Lisa Cary, Ann Luzeckyj, Deb West, Jude Williams, Jess Vanderlelei

CAULLT Liaison: Simon Bedford


  • To utilise the existing CAULLT benchmarking to develop and pilot a micro-credential taxonomy to be piloted across IRUA institutions
  • To establish a CAULLT Advisory Committee to monitor the usefulness of the taxonomy across institutions


  • Convene a preliminary project meeting virtually – share benchmarking of Foundation/Induction programs and micro-credential literature
  • Collect and disseminate L&T staff capacity frameworks (including professional development workshops/modules) from IRUA institutions
  • Draft a micro-credentialing taxonomy for review at November 2019 CAULLT meeting
  • CAULLT Advisory Committee and IRUA DVCAs to review taxonomy
  • Pilot taxonomy for 2020 Foundations/Induction programs.

Project Resources

Credentialing professional learning for university educators
Micro-credentialing and Professional Learning in Higher Education
Framing Credentials for Higher Education Educators

Project Updates

  • Update on the L&T micro-credentialing taxonomy project

    Published by on the 4 February 2022

    An initial systematic literature review (2019) provided insights into the benefits, challenges, design recommendations, and key considerations to inform the development of a micro-credentialing taxonomy for university educators. In 2021 there was further investigation of these key considerations, supplemented by a review of recent reports and policy documents, a scan of commercial websites and industry updates to assure currency, and an expanded search of international frameworks.

    The literature review proposed that three principles underpin the taxonomy:

    1. Recognition and value.
    2. Portability and flexibility.
    3. Quality design and assessment.

    Current work in early 2022 is around synthesis of the draft taxonomy, taking into account these three principles, the common focus areas identified in the literature, national and international benchmarks, and the findings from the CAULLT Professional Recognition and Development Research survey (2019).

    The taxonomy considers the professional development needs of university educators who work in a variety of roles, including academic staff, both continuing and sessional; professional and technical staff such as learning advisors, librarians, and laboratory staff; and industry-based staff who are engaged in work-integrated-learning, professional supervision, co-teaching, and assessment/curriculum design.