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The Power of Microcredentials and Their Impact on Students, Institutions and Employers

Over the past few years, microcredentials have emerged as a powerful mechanism to deliver innovative and responsive education but higher ed leaders and employers need to be on the same page.

*Note: This is a segment from a panel discussion around the power of microcredentials. To view the full webinar, click here. 

The EvoLLLution: Can you walk us through a vision of how you expect the demand and positioning of microcredentials to evolve over the next five years?

Patty Constantakis: For us at Walmart, the vision is that we have succeeded in transforming our education and workforce talent development system into a skills and competency-based model. Can we do that in five years? I’m not sure, maybe it ends up being 10 years.

Ultimately, we believe in this system and what we want to see is a lot more economic opportunity and advancement for those who’ve been kept from it. People need to do learning in a specific way and then stack that learning to help advance them. It’s the ultimate high-level vision and there’s still a lot that needs to be done.

Luke Dowden: It comes down to the connection of the microcredential in the hiring system. It’s important for the hiring system to not only ingest that information but signal it to the hiring manager. IT can help them better recognize the skill a person may have that the employer is looking for.

A year ago I was at the largest employer in San Antonio and I expected to hear very technical terms regarding various roles. But instead, I heard the word critical thinking twelve times. So for me it’s about do the systems work and are they going to do the job we wanted? For us, our goal is to end poverty through education. We can’t do this if the systems don’t connect.

Kenneth J. La Valley: In the next few years, peripherals continue to represent the paradigm shift. This shift, at its core, is about inventions of credibility in education. As a result, the next five years we’ll really see more encrypted personal learning records that are portable. Blockchain exists and can be used for portability and validation. As a university, our institutions have to build relationships with industry to continue the dialogue and show the value in things where we’re going to see an increase in use. We really need to have industry derive the relevance of what we’re doing in this space. As the issuers of microcredentials then need to come together around their validation, consistency and portability.