The Present and Future of Microcredentials

Microcredentials of all forms are gaining popularity across the higher education space. After all, these loosely-defined, typically non-credit offerings are quick to stand up, can go to market quickly, and are faster and more affordable than more traditional higher education options (like degrees).

However, without seriously considering the rigour and purpose of microcredentials–and their place within the credential structure of an institution–non-credit credentials in general can be devalued.

Traditionally offered by continuing education divisions, increasing numbers of main campus faculties and departments are beginning to explore microcredential programs as a way to make up budget shortfalls and stay relevant to their audiences. Rather than going it alone, though, these divisions should be working closely with their colleagues in CE to ensure these programs are customer-centric, outcomes-oriented, responsive to demand and rigourous.


Demystifying Microcredentials

Inside the Big Confusing Credentialing Tent: A New Mission to Understand Non-Degree Credentials

Holly Zanville | Strategy Director, Lumina Foundation & Visiting Scholar, George Washington University’s Institute of Public Policy

Frank Swanzy Essien Jr. | Strategy Officer for Research, Lumina Foundation

The number of credentials used to document education and training has grown—but so has the confusion about what they mean. Beyond that, many of us don’t like these terms because they imply the credentials are second-class, even as we sometimes struggle to understand their precise value.

The Growing Profile of Non-Degree Credentials: Diving Deeper into ‘Education Credentials Come of Age’

Sean Gallagher | Executive Director of the Center for the Future of Higher Education and Talent Strategy, Northeastern University

Online education—which in all its forms continues to slowly and steadily grow its market share in terms of all higher ed instruction—is certainly an enabler of this vision, given what we know about pedagogy and the ability to digitally document outcomes.

Microcredentials’ Value Dependent on Higher Ed Cheerleading Instead of Spectating

Vicki Brannock | Director of Workforce Strategy and Innovation, Biocom Institute

There’s an opportunity for higher education. With microcredentials, the 75 percent of Americans who do not have a college degree can obtain the skills they need to reach the next level in their career without having to take on the burden of student loans.

How Everyone Benefits from Badging: A Guide to Mainstreaming Digital Credentials

Elisabeth Rees-Johnstone | Executive Director of Continuing Education and Professional Learning at OISE, University of Toronto

Whatever your personal and professional scenario, there is a high likelihood that you’ve had some experience with digital badging. And while the idea of digital badging is compelling for higher education, it has yet to achieve the levels of commitment demonstrated for MOOCs and other digital pedagogical practices.


The Value of Microcredentials

The Era of Shift Disturbers: Why A Modern Credentialing Framework Needs to Happen Now

Tracey Taylor O’Reilly | Assistant Vice President of Continuing Studies, York University

As we face this quiet crisis, I think it is incumbent on us as CE leaders not to be quiet! We need to evolve to become “shift disturbers” – to drive change within our own institutions, our governments and our economy.

Introducing Digital Credentials to Universities

J. Kim McNutt | Dean of the College of Extended and International Education, CSU Dominguez Hills

The three-step career cycle (education, work, retirement) doesn’t exist anymore. It’s lifelong learning, and the best way to convey that is through these electronic comprehensive learning records. Students can build a resume of everything they’ve learned and share it more easily.

Measuring the Value of Digital Credentials (Part One): The Shared Benefits of Microcredentialing

Jonathan Lehrich | Associate Director of Strategy and Projects in the Office of the Vice Provost for Advances in Learning, Harvard University

The value of a degree or credential lies as much in how you talk about it, as it does in anything intrinsic. It depends on how the holder presents the achievement on their resume, their LinkedIn profile, and in professional contexts.

Enriching Higher Education Beyond the Four-Year Degree: The Merits of Flexible Credentialing

Andrea Keener | Associate Dean of Continuing Education and Professional Development, Miami Dade College

Given higher education’s move towards individualized educational pathways, it is increasingly important to recognize all forms of learning across an individual’s lifespan. More and more students come to institutions of higher education with various backgrounds and various levels of knowledge and experience. Making sure that we value all of that richness of experience is incredibly important.


Credentialing and the Future of Work

Embedding Certifications into Bachelor’s Degrees Could Improve Transitions into the Labor Market

Holly Zanville | Strategy Director, Lumina Foundation & Visiting Scholar, George Washington University’s Institute of Public Policy

Karen Elzey | Associate Executive Director, Workcred

Certifications are an important part of the credentialing system. The ability to receive data from certification bodies is crucial to understanding certifications’ respective returns on investment.

A. Sasha Thackaberry | Vice President for Digital and Continuing Education, Louisiana State University

This proposition is more difficult than it seems. The modality in which a university or college engages students goes to the core of the institution’s identity. This transformation can be culturally contentious; meanwhile the world marches on.

When active labor linking is incorporated within the design of a stackable program, stackability can be a powerful tool in addressing a region’s workforce development goal of creating more skilled workers for select sectors in support of their economy.

Lost in Translation: Bridging the Skills Translation Gap with Skills Mapping

Kacey Thorne | Director of Program Architecture, Western Governors University

Skills have become the new currency of the labor market, and as this new currency has grown in adoption and acceptance with employers, a new language has also formed. Higher education, however, has yet to widely embrace this new skills language, which has contributed to the emergence of a skills translation gap between higher education and employers.


Credentialing and the 60-Year Curriculum

Developing Continuing Education & Experiential Learning Programs

Valerie Delleville | Associate Dean of Business Core and Microcredentials in the College of Business, Western Governors University

As we enter a new decade, U.S. higher education can directly answer the call to reskill and upskill American workers through open-loop learning. This form of learning differs from conventional postsecondary delivery because it is less transactional, less time-bound, and it can be instantly implemented in the workforce.

Save the Degree from Irrelevance: Rethinking On-Ramps to Higher Education

Karen Ferguson | Provost, Colorado State University-Global Campus

To stay relevant, higher education has to be willing to meet the needs and expectations of learners and industry leaders. Meeting those needs requires flexibility in how we think about the role of higher education and quite frankly, degrees.

Rovy Branon | Vice Provost for Continuum College, University of Washington

Our job is to make sure that we are constantly seeking input from the right people, hiring top talent as instructors and serving both our students and the workforce.

Working Cross-Campus to Build a Flexible and Responsive Educational Ecosystem

Darcy Richardson | Director of Continuing and Professional Education at EdPlus, Arizona State University

The main thing is that we’ve got to provide relevant content. Individuals have to be able to see that CPE programs are going to have a positive, immediate impact on their growth and development.
Attract and Retain Learners with Digital Badges
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Hallmarks of Excellence in Credential Innovation
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Quality Dimensions for Connected Credentials
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Counting U.S. Postsecondary and Secondary Credentials
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The Connected Learn-and-Work Ecosystem
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Consolidated Administration: The Key to Delivering a 60 Year Curriculum
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The Value of the Credential Transparency Description Language
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