The Rise of MOOCs, Micro-Credentialing and Higher Education’s Role in Bringing Them Together
The Rise of MOOCs, Micro-Credentialing and Higher Education's Role in Bringing Them Together Clarity Consultants

While massive open online courses (MOOCs) and micro-credentialing aren’t technically new, they quickly rose to prominence during the pandemic. Once COVID-19 began impacting the workforce, many professionals turned to online resources to further their capabilities. In some cases, this was to substitute for training they weren’t currently able to get at work. In others, it was a way to become a stronger candidate after a layoff.

While some of these programs were initially the creations of the founding platform, higher education is increasingly bringing these two concepts together. If you are wondering how, here’s what you need to know about MOOCs, micro-credentialing, and higher education’s role.

Understanding MOOCs and Micro-Credentialing

MOOCs are web-based learning platforms that welcome essentially any student. Often, they provide free or low-cost access to a broad selection of educational material, including pre-designed, any-time courses and instructor-led classes. In many cases, courses through MOOCs are highly specific and focus on a single skill or knowledge area.

Micro-credentialing is a process for validating a learner’s competency. Essentially, it is an endorsement from an institution that asserts the learner possesses specific knowledge, usually focused on an individual niche or skill area.

Many MOOCs offer some form of micro-credentialing service. Technically, something as simple as a certificate of completion can count, though some have gone as far as to offer “nanodegree” programs.

How Higher Education is Bringing MOOCs and Micro-Credentialing Together

While micro-credentialing sounds formal, there isn’t an official standard that defines its value. However, higher education institutions are working to change that, aiming for a level of consistency across various programs.

One such step involves working toward a Common Micro-credential Framework. This would lead to the development of a functional standard for micro-credentialing, ensuring all who offer these programs are adhering to an acceptable minimum.

Another has been making coursework available through higher education institutions accessible through MOOCs. This effectively boosts the quality of the available educational options, leading to more accurate information being shared with learners.

Ultimately, the goal is to increase the availability of micro-credentialing, as well as up its validity. This benefits the learner by ensuring the quality of their learning experience remains high while also benefiting employers by addressing concerns about credential-issuing institutions, effectively guaranteeing that the credentials are worthy of admiration.

Do You Want to Add Micro-Credentialing to Your Learning Program?

Companies do have the ability to add micro-credentialing to their training, giving their employees value beyond the educational experience. If you would like assistance from L&D experts to incorporate micro-credentialing into your learning program, Clarity Consultants is here to assist. With almost 30 years of experience in the world of L&D, Clarity has the knowledge you need to succeed. Plus, the Clarity team can simplify your L&D candidate search, increasing your access to top talent right when you need it most.

If you are ready to partner with experienced L&D professionals who can help you embrace micro-credentialing, Clarity Consultants can help. Contact us today.


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