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Micro-credentials: The Professional Growth Passport

By: MaryBeth Crissman Date: April 19, 2016



You’ve heard about them but maybe you’re not sure exactly what they are or how they work. Or maybe you haven’t heard of them at all. Either way, micro-credentials are the latest movement in increasing transparency and improving professional growth in the education space.

But what exactly are micro-credentials? Micro-credentials are narrowly focused and highly specialized professional growth experiences and they are usually displayed through digital badges which represent skills and subjects mastered.. Micro-credentials can also represent leadership and service experiences. They are earned at the completion of required, recommended, or voluntary professional development opportunities and are kept in a digital portfolio. Much like a travel passport, micro-credentials record and display where you’ve been and what you’ve done on your professional growth journey.

Unlike professional development certificates or CTEs, micro-credentials can hone in on more narrow knowledge and skill sets that traditional professional education opportunities often overlook. Often micro-credentials ask teachers to submit videos and other artifacts demonstrating the newly mastered skill in action. Because micro-credentials are more focused and narrow, teachers are able to find immediate value in their learning instead of taking one or two nuggets of information from a traditional professional development session or seminar. And, since the skills and knowledge acquired through micro-credentialing is so relevant, 97% of participants indicate that they would be interested in pursuing future micro-credentials (Seven Lessons Learned From Implementing Micro-credentials).

To date the Friday Institute, an educational research organization part of NC State’s College of Education, has outlined seven lessons learned from implementing micro-credentials:

  1. Teachers who earn micro-credentials want to earn more
  2. Micro-credentials encourage teachers to apply skills to classroom practice
  3. Micro-credentials scaffold teachers to engage at an increased level of rigor
  4. Teachers can demonstrate competency/mastery in a variety of ways
  5. Instructional design and online platform matter
  6. Micro-credentials should not have a one-size-fits-all approach
  7. Many questions still exist around micro-credentials

Are you interested in using micro-credentials as a part of your professional growth journey? Let us know on Facebook and on Twitter at @Truenorthlogic.