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Micro-credentials: The Professional Growth Passport

By: MaryBeth Crissman Date: April 19, 2016

micro-credentials

Micro-credentials.

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.