The Number One Problem (and Solution) with Microcredentials

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What is the number one problem with microcredentials?  And it is not whether there be a space between the word micro and credentials.

 

Recently the National Microcredentials Framework has been released by the Australian Government and it is dated November 2021.  It is good to see a common definition, principles outlined and critical information requirements.

 

Probably many people in Higher Education, Non-Accredited Training, Schools and Vocational Education and Training (VET), read through the framework and applied it is a checklist against any microcredentials that they have already developed and may be marketing or delivering. 

 

Expiration of microcredentials is an interesting topic for discussion, as generally speaking qualifications and units of competency in accredited training don’t expire, however there are examples such as first aid, CPR and high-risk skills that do expire and need to be updated.  Perhaps this approach is something to give broader consideration across formal qualifications and training?

 

In section 4.0 within the framework, the required and recommended information requirements could have highlighted some gaps to address quickly by designers and providers but there is a major problem with some microcredentials and that relates to a core capability of assessment.  Observing that for several existing microcredentials, assessment could be missing or very light on, even where there is credit towards courses, vendor/industry certifications.  The suspected secondary gap is the statement of assurance of quality on the marketplace which needs prioritising before a potential explosion of substandard products.  And there must be a focus on business, employer industry needs as well as learner needs.

 

Back in the day, say 15 years ago, there were numerous options for professional development in assessment for educators, working on developing assessment tools from scratch, validating with industry and employers, moderating with colleagues, and sharing different approaches.  There have been few opportunities since then for this type of professional development and now we see a dearth of assessment capability.  This gap has been highlighted through the pandemic, particularly in the areas of online learning and assessment design, with anyone that has a solid track record in this area, being in significant demand.

 

Building on minimum standards on the marketplace, practical, professional development that has a global perspective as clients, customers and students could come from anywhere in the world.  On that point, examples of professional development can be drawn from the European Commission, New Zealand, the USA, where the approach is seen more as an ecosystem.

 

What do you think are the main issues and solutions related to the implementation of the National Microcredentials Framework?  Please feel free to get in touch via wendy@workforceblueprint.com.au to share your thoughts and experience or post on this blog.

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