National Survey on Potential of Micro-credentials for Enhancing Employability and Access to Lifelong Learning

Last week, a NIDL research team launched the first National Survey seeking the views of employees, employers and other key Irish stakeholders on the current use and future potential of micro-credentials.

National Micro-Credential Survey - social and digital image.png

The National Survey was launched in partnership with five Skillnet networks: Aviation Skillnet, ICBE Advanced Productivity Skillnet, ICBE Business Excellence Skillnet, Galway Executive Skillnet and Taste4Success Skillnet. We are seeking to better understand how a strategic investment in micro-credentials in Ireland might be able to help address key skills gaps and be part of a national response to the rapidly changing nature of work, and growing recognition of the importance of supporting a culture of continuous professional development and lifelong learning, more generally.

Additionally, in the context of Covid-19 the development of quality assured, credit-bearing, online short courses leading to stackable micro-credentials may help to provide new career opportunities and play a valuable role in getting more people back to work.

MCs Evology

Although the term “micro-credential” currently lacks a common definition globally, which is a problem the study is also exploring, they typically refer to units of assessed learning that are significantly smaller than traditional forms of accredited learning (such as diplomas or degrees).  Under this definition, micro-credentials can be stacked into a degree, contribute to a degree, or stand alone, giving learners more flexibility and pathways into formal qualifications. Importantly, they differ from and have more currency than badges that may be issued for simply participating in a learning experience. In this respect, micro-credentials require formal assessment and the same quality assurance processes as existing credentials from trusted providers.

The findings from this survey will help inform work already underway at a European-level on developing a common definition, qualification framework and standardised platforms for recognising micro-credentials in the workplace, and beyond. Notably, micro-credentials are already a key action on the European Commission’s recently launched Skills Agenda for Europe. Last year, DCU contributed to the Common Micro-credential Framework developed by the European MOOC Consortium, and currently Professor Mark Brown is contributing to the European Commission’s Micro-credential Consultation Group.

cmf.jpg

DCU is also an active partner in the ECIU University initiative where a suite of micro-leaning experiences developed around a signature pedagogy of Challenged-based Education (CBE) may lead to formally recognised micro-credentials.  Earlier in the year, the NIDL helped to develop an ECIU position statement on the future of micro-credentials in the European context.

As part of the current study the NIDL research team has already produced an Insights Report looking at current global trends and developments. We plan to share the findings of this report and the national Irish survey at an international event on micro-credentials that DCU will be hosting later in the year. In the meantime, if you live in Ireland, then we encourage you to contribute to this study by completing the survey. You can also find out more information about the NIDL’s work in this growing area, and DCU’s first credit-bearing, stackable, micro-credential launched in February 2020 in the area of FinTech through the FutureLearn platform, by visiting our Micro-credential Observatory.

Learning for Tomorrow, Today: Future Fit Universities for 2040

An innovative future-focussed Higher Education Symposium bringing together students from more than 10 universities across Europe will take place in Brussels in early November. The main objective of this free symposium (only a few places remaining) is to explore different scenarios for Higher Education by 2040 and help shape futures thinking with a strong learner perspective on new models and approaches to teaching and learning. In addition to a strong student presence, the symposium has been designed for rich dialogue between educational leaders, policy-makers and industry stakeholders.

11.jpg

Why a Focus on 2040

A child born today will not graduate from a European university until around 2040. The question is what type of university education will they experience in another 20 years from now? How will universities have responded by 2040 to the major challenges and forces of change facing our societies, and the Higher Education sector in particular? The student voice is central to this unique future-focused symposium as we discuss ‘learning for tomorrow, today’. Students will feature throughout the event as we look to challenge conventional institutional thinking and to reimagine the teaching and learning experience for better futures – for all.

Location

Brussels, Dutch House of Provinces
Rue de Treves 59
Brussels

ECIU.jpg

Programme Outline – Tuesday 6th November

10:30 – ECIU Student Summit (Students Only)

12:30 – Lunch

‍13:00 – Welcome from Moderator

13:05 – Welcome from Rob van Eijkeren (Head of Office Dutch House of Provinces)

13:10 – Introduction to ECIU and the Big Questions by Professor Mark Brown

‍13:20 – Student Insights – Teaching and Learning in the University of 2040

‍13:50 – World Cafes – Exploring the Big Questions (led by students)

15:00 – Refreshment Break

15:20 – World Cafes Report Back

‍15:45 – ECIU Response to the World Cafes

‍16:00 – Stakeholder Panel Discussion

– Adam Gajek (European Students’ Union),
– Thérèse Zhang (European University Association),
– Vanessa Debiais-Sainton (European Commission),
– European Parliament (TBC)

16:45 – Summary Comments

16:55 – Close of Event

‍17:00 – Networking with Refreshments

Event Host

The Symposium is being hosted by the European Consortium of Innovative Universities (ECIU) under the leadership of the Steering Committee for Innovation in Teaching and Learning, chaired by Director of the NIDL.

Further Information

You can register and find more information about this event on the ECIU’s website:

https://www.eciu.org/news/future-fit-universities-for-2040

If you have any further questions about this event, then please do not hesitate to contact Olga Wessels in ECIU’s Brussels office:

<olga.wessels@eciu.org>