We are familiar with micro credentials - things like digital badges. One of the claimed advantages of micro-credentials is that they enable you to assess competences (knowledge, skills and dispositions) that cannot easily be assessed or captured using traditional metrics (e.g. exams, essays). Assessing competences (e.g. leadership; resilience) often involves looking at what people do, looking at their practice, at their ability to apply 'knowledge' in particular contexts. This creates a problem, which nano-credentials will help to overcome.
The problem is how to provide credible assessments of performance. Unless you can video record the performance, so that the assessment of it can be moderated, how do you know that an assessment by one person at one point in time is valid and reliable?
Video recording and then playing back the video in order to assess performance creates problems, not least in terms of the amount of time and effort needed. This makes it impractical.
Portfolios attempt to overcome this problem. However, they involve assessing artifacts that evidence practice, rather than the practice itself. They are also very labour intensive to produce and time consuming to assess. This makes them impractical.
Nano-credentials potentially solve the problem. A nano-credential is simply a claim that someone has seen you demonstrate that you have met a criterion (e.g. I just saw you demonstrate that you are resilient). With the aid of digital technology this sort of approach could be as simple as selecting the recipient's name and clicking on a button to award them a claim. Much more practical than videoing the practice or documenting other evidence.
Having multiple nano-credentials, particularly if they have been awarded by different people observing your practice on different occasions, provides a compelling evidence base. They indicate that lots of different people have seen you meet the criterion on lots of different occasions - so we can be pretty confident that you can do whatever it is you have been assessed against.
Once a threshold number of claims have been made a digital badge could be awarded. e.g. 10 nano-credentials awarded by at least three different people on at least five different occasions results in a micro-credential for that competence.
Thus, nano-credentials could feed into micro-credentials, which could feed into and enrich your profile, transcript, and CV.
Nano-credentials potentially have the power to transform not only how but also what we assess. Given that assessment drives practice in schools nano-credentials could be the lever that enables schools to focus on the competences that young people actually need in order to live fulfilling lives and make a positive contribution to our universal well-being.