Today’s learners no longer see educational institutions as a centre of learning. They are looking for employability. These learners are digitally savvy, their expectations are evolving, and they are demanding personalised and flexible learning.
This demand can be met through smart and sustainable campuses that harness technology to scale access and provide Empowered Learning. This facilitates equity and inclusion and provides skill-based progression. The focus is on individual learning and accessible education by offering an extensive range of meaningful and flexible learning methods.
The rise of technologies like AI, blockchain and increasing use of robotics is defining the work opportunities for the individuals across the globe. The use of these and other emerging technologies also means that in order to remain employable one has to keep on adopting to changes by embracing new skills.
It is now widely accepted that a flexible, inclusive learning approach to micro-credentials for lifelong learning and employability is the need of the day. The European Union (EU) adopted a recommendation to this effect on the 16th of June 2022.
An effective culture of lifelong learning and recognition of micro- credentials across all sectors of industry has to be developed to make this happen. A reliable and measurable certification of short-term learning experiences, for example, a short course or training outcomes will ensure that the individuals have the knowledge, skill set, and the competencies needed to thrive in personal as well as professional lives. The byte size learning is more effective and flexible. The knowledge retention is high and supports personal as well as professional development as per the interest and the need of each individual.
Micro-credentials are being developed rapidly across the world. These opportunities are now being made available by a wide variety of public and private providers in response to the demand for more flexible, learner-centred forms of education and training. They also have the potential to offer education and training opportunities to a wider range of learners, including disadvantaged and vulnerable groups.
To reach their full potential the micro credentials have to be standardised for their quality, transparency, and cross-border compatibility. To make micro credentials acceptable the focus will have to be on the building trust and flexibility.
The governments should support the preparedness of micro-credential providers to achieve the desired standards of their learning offer. This will empower individuals to forge personalised learning and career pathways, foster inclusiveness, and access equal opportunities. This way the learning providers can contribute to the achievement of resilience, social fairness and prosperity for all in various phases of economic cycles.
The EU recommendation provides building blocks including definition, standard elements for describing micro-credentials, and principles for designing and issuing micro-credentials.
Those who are trying to develop micro-credentials should look carefully at these.
Educational institutions should start developing smart campuses providing empowered byte sized learning and harness the power of digital transformation to help each individual achieve their goals.
Organisations should develop strategies to support micro credits and provide training to their staff to meet the challenges of the fast-changing work scenario. Short term solution by hiring new talent for the emerging technologies is not a sustainable solution.