The current coronavirus has enhanced interest levels in short, online learning platforms, addressing specific skills gaps.  Skills demands are changing and will continue to change as a result of the need to retrain, reskill or redeploy. New types of education will be required to facilitate this, pinpointing skills to meet employer needs in a flexible, time-friendly and in-demand way.

One example of innovation in learning that is being pioneered by The Open University is microcredentials. A microcredential is a shorter and sharper type of University-level online learning experience. They are delivered at degree and postgraduate level and usually take around just a few months to complete. Academic credit gained from a microcredential can often be used towards a qualification. Microcredentials are becoming more popular in industry and education due to their focused and flexible delivery. The Open University’s  microcredentials are hosted on our FutureLearn platform, the largest Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) platform in Europe. Microcredentials are the next step in The Open University’s mission to make education accessible to all, with a strong pipeline of courses in development to be launched throughout this year.

As a well-established, globally recognised University, we have a strong pedigree of course development designed for on-screen learning using digital technology to maximise learner engagement in a high quality and fully supported way. It is part of our DNA.

The Department for the Economy is currently supporting a range of online skills provision to upskill and reskill people whose jobs have been impacted by Covid-19. As a result, I am delighted to let you know that we are currently offering a limited number of FULLY FUNDED places for EIGHT of our microcredential qualifications, mainly at postgraduate level, including in management and leadership, cyber security and teaching and learning. 

These includeGlobal Development in Practice: Designing an Intervention”, designed for those working in non-governmental organisations, public sector, governmental bodies, for volunteers working in community action projects.  Our “Management of Uncertainty; Leadership, Decisions and Action”, is a microcredential suitable for those in senior leadership and managerial roles in business, in the public or third sectors. The “Cyber Security” microcredential is designed for professionals looking to enter the growing cyber security industry as well as those with a background in the area who are looking to upskill.  This microcredential is endorsed by the Cisco Networking Academy. Our “Business management: Marketing Principles and Practice”, is ideal for business professionals who wish to broaden their understanding of marketing and develop knowledge and skills to improve their performance at work.

There are many benefits related to undertaking a microcredential for employers and employees:

  • Current, international course content, to address specific skills gaps within a short timeframe;
  • Self-paced to suit professional and personal commitments; and
  • Meets a range of diverse learning styles and preferences, contributing to professional growth.

For more information on these short online courses, how to apply, criteria and key information, please visit:

Please note the closing date of 9 March, 1pm.  Places will be allocated on a first come, first served basis; more information is available from our “key information” section of this webpage.

The Open University is the only four-nation University in the UK, allowing us to flex our scale to meet the requirements of local communities and employers. We are strategically positioned to leverage a flexible, distance learning approach, to support individualised and diverse pathways for learning, in a practical and tangible way. The Open University will continue to work with industry, government and education across Northern Ireland to make life-long learning accessible to all.

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