Microcredentials and Their Impact on the Success of Future Education

Juan Pablo Chinchilla
29/03/22
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More and more institutions and organizations are adopting new distributed, accessible, and adaptable learning models for their students. Experimenting with technologies that provide new means of participation between students and teachers, opens new doors to innovative ways of assessing learning ability, creating professional approaches that better align to the needs of the future workforce.

Currently, there are a few resources that orientate well to today’s job market, namely a mix of traditional learning, new technological systems, and the development and implementation of microcredentials and short courses. They enable an education system that guarantees the commitment and success of students and teachers in their professional careers.

For now and in the future, educators in both institutions and corporations must be able to offer students the possibility of choosing a learning modality (in person, hybrid, or online) that will keep them engaged in the classroom. A key step in this process will be the use of microcredentials as a helpfultool for learning.

So, what are microcredentials?

Microcredentials are short, industry-aligned learning units that are certified or accredited, and can count towards a higher education qualification. While variations of microcredentials have existed for many years, they are now part of higher education institution frameworks. Microcredentials provide students with the opportunity for learners to take shorter professional courses in order to improve their skills. 

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Microcredentials in Classrooms: How Students Take Them and Their Application by Teachers for New Academic Practices

Microcredentials in ClassroomsInstitutions interested in staying on top of the latest trends and technology are increasingly evaluating the role of microcredentials in their training programs. An example of this is research by the University of Waterloo, which in different phases, surveyed students and employers to learn about their thoughts on microcredentials.

A total of 1,016 responses from students and 124 employers were included in the analyses, assessing the impact of microcredentials on the degree of motivation they will gain from obtaining a credential, the performance of the teacher, and the degree of exclusivity focused on their professional interests.

The findings from these studies provide valuable information on microcredentials for higher education stakeholders and professionals. Programs that offer credentials provide an opportunity to recognize students’ competencies, helping them transition into the labor world more cohesively. As the prevalence of microcredentials increases, it will be important for educators to understand how this tool fits into the larger education landscape. Finally, the value of obtaining a microcredential motivates and incentivizes students, encouraging their efforts to master the content presented by the teacher/instructor.

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Ability to Prepare Students for the Workforce

Ability to Prepare Students for the WorkforceIt’s clear that the workforce is increasingly competitive. Students entering the workforce may be limited in their job searches if they do not possess certain skills and competencies that prospective employers seek.

For this reason, it’s vital for institutions, companies, and people in training to recognize the value of microcredentials as a way to demonstrates a professional’s potential suitability in their future career. 

With reduced and low-cost qualifications, such as certifications, the aim is to be more employable and tailor learning to a range of skills spanning different industries and professions. This allows students to carve their own learning path and, by placing competencies over degrees, equips them with the tools they need to obtain employment upon graduation.

It’s no secret that candidate profiles with a higher number of certifications or professional courses that also display an innovative spirit or ability to adapt to change, will have a considerable advantage over other candidates when applying for new roles.

A mix of traditional learning, new technological systems, and the development and implementation of microcredentials and short courses are resources oriented in direct training to the job offers of today.

The use of microcredentials represents a reliable way to bridge the gaps in learning and access to information. Along with having more content at hand, they allow people to be certified professionally in a way that accounts for understanding and applying these new skills. Therefore, accessibility is a fundamental issue for most students. In fact, it is the main concern of all generations of students, according to recent studies. 

Another important issue is time. Many students don’t want or need a bachelor’s or college degree. So what do they want? Short-term certifications, workshops, and seminars. Earning a degree at the end of a four-year course is a major investment of time and money for many students, and research shows that skills will be favored over academic qualifications in the future.

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The Impact of Microcredentials on Teachers’ Methodology

A study conducted by the Friday Institute determined the impact of microcredentials on teachers and trainers. It identified six important aspects of microcredentials:

               1. Teachers who obtain microcredentials want more: They allow teachers to                           focus on what they’re already doing and where they need support.

               2. Microcredentials encourage teachers to apply their skills to classroom                           practice: They include strategies to help students develop working memory, in                              addition to implementing technological systems, such as videos, that provide                                    dynamism to the methodology.

               3. Microcredentials help teachers be more rigorous: They support teachers as                        they interact with the content, helping them remember the information they provide                      in the classroom.

               4. Teachers can demonstrate competence/mastery in a variety of ways: It                            allows them to make the most of each learning experience and really meet their                                needs. Some teachers choose to adapt their content to more engaging formats such                        as videos, images, poems, and online assignments.

               5. The learning platform for obtaining microcredentials matters: Learning                          platforms such as those provided by Open LMS can simplify content, provide                                    educators with everything they need to develop their knowledge, and generate useful                      feedback reports.

               6. Microcredentials should not have a one-size-fits-all approach: The content                      and objectives of a learning experience should be tailored to the skills and strengths                        that teachers can discover in each of their students.

The Impact of Microcredentials on Teachers’ Methodology

We may continue to see new questions about the use and impact of microcredentials, but as institutions and companies introduce this tool to their training processes, more and more people are seeing their usefulness as a competitive advantage when applying to jobs.

Thus, microcredentials are qualification alternatives that can determine the direction and importance of learning occurring in various areas of knowledge. Implementing this method offers specialized knowledge for the development of students and professionals in different industries. In other words, microcredentials are a tool that’s advancing the future of education, and they’re providing professionals with a greater capacity to face the challenges that today’s complex, fast-paced business world demands.

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