Teaching with micro-credentials

The term “micro-credentials” is not a new pedagogical term. Still, it has begun to be embraced in HEI to offer students an opportunity to develop competency in specific areas of the student’s interests. Typically, these credentials are industry recognized and allow the student to bring a series of demonstrated and recognized skills to potential employers. While the future of micro-credentials is still emerging, so is the Canadian workplace. RBC released a study in 2019 entitled “Humans Wanted: How Canadian youth can thrive in the age of disruption,” where the results demonstrate a trend toward a skills-based economy. The benefit of micro-credentials is that the approach lends nicely toward migrating students toward an educational system designed around skills clusters to promote mobility in the work force.

Who wins here?

One of the biggest draws of this strategy is that there are three winners. First, the student wins because, through the introduction of micro-credentials, the student can quickly build a series of credentials that have both relevance and measurability toward their career. For example, if the student were to take a course through LinkedIn Learning, the certificate and credentials are displayed in their profile. These certifications build toward a stronger candidate for a potential employer. In addition to this, the micro-credential system recognizes achievement in specific skills rather than a generalized diploma or degree. Secondly, the employer wins because research has shown that the corporate community does not have the infrastructure to prepare employees for the disruption and migration of jobs adequately. These micro-credentials allow students to upgrade their skills and be better prepared to assist organizations in the future—finally, the economy as a whole wins. By enhancing achievements, the student gains assets for a changing work world by building on the traditional educational structure, resulting in more significant opportunities for everyone. As such, leaders suggest that this will lead to economic growth in the near and distant future.

So what?

The main take-aways from the idea of micro-credentials are that each student will create a customized learning model that suits their interests and needs. They do so in environments that are evolving to suit the challenges of today’s business. To support this initiative, ecampus Ontario has launched several pilot programs across the province that involve the micro-credential concept which look to augment the current system rather than replacing it.

IMHO – In my humble opinion

As we witness digital disruption, it is changing all of our preconceived notions, making the basis for micro-credentials a logical progression. When the federal and provincial governments created the school system, we, as a society, were still cutting our teeth on the second and third waves of the industrial revolution. Now, being in the middle of the fourth industrial revolution (4IR), we are witnessing “digital [r]evolution” in its purest form. We can no longer look at these changes and try to force them into traditional classrooms; we need to modify our system to allow for the changes to take root organically in our educational and corporate culture truly. Once we do, we can watch the youth of today and tomorrow exceed all of our expectations and accomplishments of yesterday.

Photo by Muhammad Rizwan on Unsplash

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