Micro-credentials have been a hot topic since the inception of Construct back in 2013.
Whether it has been badging, the growth of technology platforms such as edX, Coursera, and Udacity, or pioneering developments using blockchain to track and confirm qualifications – we are now at a point where many nascent approaches are reaching a point of maturity.
With any technology product, applying the Gartner Hype Cycle lens is essential to see where we are in the hysteria / utter disappointment / actually, this works stage.
Having been involved both on stage and in the audience in conferences on micro-credentials ranging back to 2014, I firmly believe we are now on the Slope of Enlightenment on the way to the Plateau of Productivity when it comes to micro-credentials.
For the engineering education sector, in particular, a second mover advantage provides a huge opportunity to explore some of the best and worst of previous approaches. By combining industry and education there is a particular route to market for industry-ready qualifications built on the bedrock of micro-credentials.
As somebody who came from both the nuclear and telecoms sectors, my career has been based on bridging skills gaps.
These fell on two sides of the coin – soft (now known as crucial) skills and technical skills.
Microcredentials and skills top-up programs both offer the possibility of delivering quality assured technical skills in niche areas, particularly if developed not only with faculty but also with industry subject matter experts.
In the absence of a structured approach to accreditation of these micro-credentials, there is a risk that the tail will wag the dog with technology providers creating new untested credential ‘engines or marketplaces.
There is an opportunity for universities, industry, accreditation organisations and technology providers to help evolve this by building on the accords such as the Seoul Accord, the Washington Accord, the Sydney Accord and the Dublin Accord.
This is particularly exciting as it provides for a diverse portfolio of courses built by employers for those leaving tertiary education as well as those that are locked out of education altogether.
We will be building on these themes in our podcasts and blogs in the next few months.