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Microcredentials

 

Since the publication of the recommendations for the 'European Approach to Micro-Credentials' by the Council of the European Union in 2022, there has been an ongoing political and educational discourse regarding the utilization and potential implementation of micro-credentials within German higher education institutions.

 

Recognized as proof that documents the acquisition of competencies or the development of existing qualifications and skillsets (Up- and Reskilling), micro-credentials have been discussed as a solution for addressing the requirements of the job market and the challenges of skilled worker shortages through brief and targeted offerings.

Furthermore, micro-credentials provide higher education institutions with an opportunity to strengthen their strategic focus on internationalization and mobility by fostering the creation of joint courses with partner universities abroad. For higher education institutions, micro-credentials offer a pathway to future development and profiling, enhancing their strategies and offerings for academic further education. Simultaneously, they contribute to the promotion of knowledge and skills transfer within both the professional and academic realms.                                                                           

                                                                                                                                                             (see Introduction to HKR Modus Program Meeting 30./31.03.2023)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

‘Micro-credential’ means the record of the learning outcomes that a learner has acquired following a small volume of learning. These learning outcomes will have been assessed against transparent and clearly defined criteria. Learning experiences leading to microcredentials are designed to provide the learner with specific knowledge, skills, and competencies that respond to societal, personal, cultural or labor market needs. Micro-credentials are owned by the learner, can be shared, and are portable. They may be stand-alone or combined into larger credentials. They are underpinned by quality assurance following agreed standards in the relevant sector or area of activity.’ (EU Council Recommendation 2022, P. 13).

Micro-credentials enable students to acquire concise knowledge within a specific subject area, earn credit points for their academic pursuits, access international experiences, and utilize digital educational offerings. The European Competence Agenda (July 2020) defines micro-credentials as a pioneering opportunity to acquire future skills and enhance individual competency profiles.

Short-term international study programs and virtual mobility formats could increase the appeal of academic studies, stimulate interest in physical mobility experiences, and could also support the recruitment of international students. The incorporation of micro-credentials into the curriculum enhances the flexibility of traditional academic programs, promotes the development of international collaborations, and broadens the spectrum of available courses.

 

For micro-credentials, certain modules are particularly suitable since they do not require specific prerequisites knowledge and can be delivered in a digital or hybrid lecture format. It should address is important to cater to diverse different target groups and consider various perspectives when designing the module. Additionally, the module should function effectively as one a standalone learning unit. Particularly, modules offered in English are well-suited for micro-credentials.

Blended Intensive Programmes (BIPs)  are considered as a form of micro credentials.