Open Education and Alternative Digital Credentials in Europe


  • Dai Griffiths Research Institute for Innovation & Technology in Education (UNIR iTED), Universidad Internacional de La Rioja (UNIR)
  • Daniel Burgos Research Institute for Innovation & Technology in Education (UNIR iTED), Universidad Internacional de La Rioja (UNIR)
  • Stefania Aceto Research Institute for Innovation & Technology in Education (UNIR iTED), Universidad Internacional de La Rioja (UNIR)



OER, assessment, micro-credentials, badges, competence, specifications, infrastructure, business model


Learners who learn from OER often cannot have their learning assessed or receive a credential. Open credentials offer a potential solution to this problem, combining badges or micro-credentials with competence frameworks and digital seals. This study identified the current situation of open credentials in post-secondary education in Europe, the main themes of the discourse, and the points of agreement and divergence surrounding them. The data comprised a corpus of transcriptions from 12 expert interviews and a focus group. Qualitative text analysis identified the principal themes. Findings included the following: (a) few assessments are available as open content; (b) linking OER and credentials requires detailed and expensive work on learning outcomes and assessment; (c) the aggregation of open credentials to create higher-level qualifications is a widely accepted ambition; (d) the European Union’s infrastructure to support open credentials is appropriate and effective and can foster trust; (e) the outstanding challenges are organisational and practical, not technological; (f) assessment and content provisions should belong to separate organisational functions; and finally, (g) funding and support for open credentials in professional accreditation are essential for further progress.

Author Biographies

Dai Griffiths, Research Institute for Innovation & Technology in Education (UNIR iTED), Universidad Internacional de La Rioja (UNIR)

Dai Griffiths is a Senior Researcher at the Research Institute for Innovation & Technology in Education (UNIR iTED) at Universidad Internacional de La Rioja (UNIR). Prior to joining UNIR he was a member of the Institute for Educational Cybernetics (IEC), and Professor of Education at the University of Bolton. Originally from Wales, he has lived in Spain for most of his life and is a Spanish citizen. He has a background in the arts, and for the past thirty years he has worked in a wide range of roles in educational technology. He holds a doctorate from Universitat Pompeu Fabra.

Daniel Burgos, Research Institute for Innovation & Technology in Education (UNIR iTED), Universidad Internacional de La Rioja (UNIR)

Full Professor of Technologies for Education & Communication, and Vice-rector for International Research, at Universidad Internacional de La Rioja (UNIR); he also is Director of the Research Institute for Innovation & Technology in Education (UNIR iTED) and holds a UNESCO Chair on eLearning. He is also a Full Professor at An-Najah National University (Palestine), and an Adjunct Professor at Universidad Nacional de Colombia. He holds academic positions in South-Africa, UK, Malaysia, and China. He works as a consultant for UN, ICESCO, European Commission & Parliament, and Russian Academy of Science. He holds 12 doctorates, including Education and Computer Science.

Stefania Aceto, Research Institute for Innovation & Technology in Education (UNIR iTED), Universidad Internacional de La Rioja (UNIR)

Stefania Aceto, graduated in Political Sciences and Economics. Since 1998 she has been active in research and policy advisory activities concerning innovation in learning, technology enhanced learning and internationalisation of Higher Education. Since 2015 she has been a Senior Researcher and Project manager at the Universidad Internacional de La Rioja (UNIR). She has coordinated more than 40 international projects related to quality assurance, game-based learning, social inclusion, digital skills, internationalization of Higher Education, Artificial Intelligence and Open Education.


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How to Cite

Griffiths, D., Burgos, D., & Aceto, S. (2024). Open Education and Alternative Digital Credentials in Europe. The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 25(1), 89–108.



Research Articles