As micro-credentials continue to win popularity, higher education stakeholders continue to find ways to legitimize their merit and recognition. One recent initiative might be the most expansive as it attempts to put multiple sectors on the same page to ensure their trust and quality across K12, higher education and third-party providers.
The 1EdTech TrustEd Microcredential Coalition aims to solidify a standard that ensures each participating stakeholder understands the merit inscribed in a digital credential is legitimate, verifiable and easy to understand for all involved.
“Creating common ground around skills taxonomies, common definitions, common embedded evidence, and transferability across both academic and co-curricular credentials will be key to a future where students can own their lifelong learning journey and curate their skills for potential employers,” said Ryan Lufkin, Instructure vice president of Global Strategy. “1EdTech’s Open Badges Initiative is uniquely positioned to establish these standards.”
Participating higher education members include Bowdoin College, The California State University System, the University of Maryland Global Campus, Southern New Hampshire University, Western Governors University and Wichita State University. Greenville County Schools (S.C.), a K12 school district, is also a member. Anthology, Oracle and Google are just a few of the edtech powerhouses working with the coalition.
While the demand for micro-credentials is fervently growing, especially among employers, student interest has also increased. However, the lack of national cohesion on what credentials communicate from one sector or institution to another has also led to general confusion among those who are interested. An EDUCAUSE’s QuickPoll survey in May found less than 10% of institutions had a mature micro-credentialing program.
“Traditionally, micro-credentials have been developed in silos. There have been few commonalities in how they are defined, validated and valued, limiting their acceptance and transferability in the workplace,” explained Kim Moore, Executive Director for Workforce, Professional and Community Education at Wichita State University.
“It is confusing. Academic micro-credentials, nonacademic micro-credentials. There are still many moving parts,” said one higher education leader, according to EDUCAUSE’s QuickPoll survey on micro-credential trends.
However, 1EdTech TrustEd aims to ease these concerns by developing digital credentials that communicate nuance in a student’s skill set. For example, they can demonstrate a student’s learning about a subject—or their mastery. Additionally, the framework will be adaptable across various platforms and networks to promote learner mobility.
“As the number and types of credentials continue to grow, having clear standards for what comprises these credentials is critical to ensuring quality and trust for both individuals and employers,” said Sarah DeMark, vice provost of Workforce Intelligence and Credential Integrity at Western Governors University.