“As we observe these declines in the value of the traditional degree, we can also observe trends that suggest a rise in the value and appear of microcredentials and other more bit-sized certification and competency-based education and training models,” according to the Horizon Report.
Because consumers–and students should be thought of as consumers–expect near-instant access to resources and services when needed, microcredentials and their as-needed format fit consumers’ need for “smaller and even noninstitutional learning experiences tailored to their interests and needs.”
The report outlines areas where higher-ed institutions can create and support successful microcredentialing programs:
Online and hybrid capabilities: “As institutions develop online and hybrid formats, they are becoming well-positioned for success in offering microcredentialing programs. Coupling online and remote modes with microcredentialing will yield the agility and flexibility institutions need to serve learners with modular, just-in-time training and reskilling opportunities.”
Connections to industry and the workforce: “Microcredentialing programs–with their practical focus on skills and competencies–can help instructors, students, and advisors establish clearer linkages between students’ curricular goals and the skills needed for job placement and success in the workforce of the future.”
The report also offers a brief look at microcredentials in practice:
Innovation, Design, and Entrepreneurship Academy (i.d.e.a.) Badge Pathways: i.d.e.a. injects innovation into the student experience through experiential learning pathways organized around research, design, and entrepreneurship. The pilot lets students stack experiences with badge pathways, developing innovation-specific skill sets.
HEaRT: Higher Education and Real-World Training: HEaRT is a free experiential learning opportunity for Southern New Hampshire University online learners to develop 21st-century workforce skills. Global learners work in diverse teams to address real-world issues presented by employer partners and industry leaders. Successful participants earn a digital badge after each challenge completion and mastery of competencies.
edubadges: Issuing Digital Certificates to Students: SURF is offering an infrastructure that allows Dutch educational institutions to issue edubadges, digital credentials for both curricular and extracurricular activities. The need to make knowledge and skills transparent and to support lifelong learning were major drivers in the development.