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Short learning programmes
microcredentials and modularisation
EADTU Webinar Week on Microcredentials
George Ubachs
Managing director EADTU
CC-BY-SA 4.0 1
Overview
• Short learning programmes
• The Common Microcredential Framework (CMF)
• Modularity
CC-BY-SA 4.0 2
Erasmus+: 590202-EPP-1-2017-1-NL-EPPKA3-PI-FORWARD
CC-BY-SA 4.0 3
Universidade Aberta 2021
CC-BY-SA 4.0 4
Icon
made
by
Icon
from
www.flaticon.com
Our society requires learning for our
lifespan (LLL) with the purpose of
“improving our knowledge, skills and
competences, within personal, civic,
social or employment-related
perspectives”.
https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/statistics-explained/index.php/Glossary:Lifelong_learning
More flexible,
shorter programmes
• The size and value of short programmes make it attractive for
learners to specialise, upskill or retrain in higher education.
• Current system offer two options for following higher education: an
accredited (part-time) programme or a non-accredited module or
course.
• Modules or other small educational units often fit better with the
flexibility that workers need but are not accredited
More flexible offerings needed, putting flexibilisation and
modularisation in higher education high on the agenda.
CC-BY-SA 4.0 5
CEPD as a
public good
Continuing education and
professional development should
become a fully fledged area of
higher education provision and
funded as a public good (in
combination with institutional
business models);
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Three academic areas of provision
Degree education
Continuing
education and
professional
development
Open
education
CC-BY-SA 4.0 7
Stakeholder perspectives
• Leadership: development / extension of continuing education and professional
development; institutional frameworks and conditions;
• Employers: knowledge and skills updating staff; career development
• Learners: restricted and structured workload, flexibility, study-work-life balance
• Teaching staff / support services: design of CEPD courses and programmes
• Governments and EU: establishing national and EU frameworks for continuing
education and professional development – Bologna tools
CC-BY-SA 4.0 8
Why (MOOC-based) SLPs?
• SLPs respond better to the time horizon of learners in
continuing education and professional development
than an entire bachelor and master programme;
• By stackability, they motivate students to continue
studies to a degree programme;
• SLPs stimulate modularity in higher education;
• SLPs promote recognition of continuing education
programmes.
CC-BY-SA 4.0 9
Short Learning Programmes
• SLPs consist of a coherent set of learning building blocks (or
microcredentials) organised around steady learning outcomes,
leading to an exam and ultimately to a credential/qualification;
• SLPs vary in size, from 5 to 30 ECTS, and can reach 5 to 8 EQF level;
• SLPs are provided by a HEIs;
• SLPs can be delivered in online or blended mode;
• SLPs can be stackable to a broader programme such as an academic
degree;
• a SLP credential is accompanied by a document that details the main
characteristics of the programme and the achievements of the
student;
• the quality of SLPs is assessed by the internal quality assurance
procedure of each HEI
CC-BY-SA 4.0 10
Examples of good practice: joint SLPs
• Climate change
• New rights
• Online and blended learning
• Digital transformation and enterprises
• Digital competent educators
https://e-
slp.eadtu.eu/images/publications_and_outputs/D62_Re
port_on_collaborative_SLPs_and_related_mobility.pdf
Universidade Aberta 2021 CC-BY-SA 4.0 11
Design of short learning programmes
• Design of SLPs: https://e-
slp.eadtu.eu/images/D42_Guidelines_final.pdf
• Design of collaborative SLPs: https://e-
slp.eadtu.eu/images/Report_on_collaborative_design.pdf
• Design of joint microcredential programmes:
(not yet published, available at EADTU)
• Design of joint microcredential courses:
(not yet published, available at EADTU)
Universidade Aberta 2021 CC-BY-SA 4.0 12
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THE COMMON MICROCREDENTIAL FRAMEWORK (CMF)
ESLP Focus Groups May 2021 CC-BY-SA 4.0 14
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Common Microcredential Framework
CC-BY-SA 4.0 16
EMC developed CMF in response to the question: how to
harmonize the current wide variation of certificates offered in
higher education, which lead to confusion and challenges
related to recognition?
Demand for a more
standardised credential
There is great variation
within credentials and
between them. Employers
need a common standard
to support lifelong
learning
CC-BY-SA 4.0 18
The microcredential adds a quality mark
(from the Dutch Acceleration Plan HE)
• Third parties (labour market, institutions, etc.) can be sure that this person
actually masters the knowledge or skills associated with the
microcredentials.
• The achievement of these learning outcomes is traceable and verifiable.
• A national registration can be made of who has achieved which
microcredential.
• The recognized value of microcredentials gives professionals more control
over their own development and develop a path by combining various
programmes and institutions.
• Be assured that learning outcomes achieved will also be recognised
elsewhere, so that the opportunities to build on already acquired knowledge,
skills and competences also open up.
• The size and value of microcredentials make it attractive to specialise,
upskill or retrain in higher education. (Professionals often need specific
training or retraining. Not necessarily to a full degree)
19
Value of SLPs and MOOCs are
determined by:
• Quality (HEI’s)
• Recognition
• Relevance (learner – company)
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MODULARITY
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Modularisation and stackability
• We distinguish two ways of modularisation;
-breaking down existing bigger programmes into smaller units of
education, preferably 5 ects or 30 ects.
-building new programmes by developing new short learning
programmes that can build up to bigger programmes of diploma’s
and degrees.
• Pre-stackability is an important aspect here to be included as a
pathway in new programmes. As for the first format stackability is
included by definition.
CC-BY-SA 4.0 22
Responsive microcredentals
• Microcredentials need to be developed as responsive short
programmes to market needs.
How can MCs play a Bigger role in education by interaction with
companies and labour market stakeholders in general?
CC-BY-SA 4.0 23
Co-creation
with external
stakeholders
•Needs analysis
•Content co-creation
•Course evaluation
•Internship providers
•Recognition and professional
accreditation
•Employment prospects
•Research and innovation
opportunities
•Financial sponsors, …
CC-BY-SA 4.0 24
From learning unit to degree programme Volume (ECTS) Level Award
Learning unit/micro-learning Less than 1 ECTS Undergraduate
EQF level 5, 6
Postgraduate
EQF level 7,8
a badge/proof of attendance (can be part
of a course or stackable to a course)
A single course
A microcredential course
A single MOOC with credits
Number
of ECTS credits
awarded to the
course
Undergraduate
EQF level 5, 6
Postgraduate
EQF level 7,8
ECTS course credits (stackable to
a programme)
CMF- microcredential programme
MOOC pathway
4-6 ECTS Undergraduate
EQF level 5, 6
Postgraduate
EQF level 7,8
microcredential
gradeo
(stackable in a microcredential programme
or a degree programme)
Microcredential programme
Microdegree programme
MOOC-based programme
20-40 ECTS Undergraduate
EQF level 5, 6
Postgraduate
EQF level 7,8
undergraduate/postgraduatcertificate
Microdegree, specialisation certificate
expert certificate, certified,
professional programme, focus diploma,
Diploma(stackable to degree programme
Degree programme (bachelor/master/docto
rate)
180 ECTS
60-90-120 ECTS
240 (180) ECTS
Undergraduate
EQF level 5, 6
Postgraduate
EQF level 7,8
short cycle graduate
bachelor/master degree
doctorate degree
CC-BY-SA 4.0 25
Recommendations: institutional level
• Build a consistent institutional qualification structure for continuing education and
professional development
• Stimulate multilateral agreements between institutions on a common qualification
framework
• Develop, in cooperation with the social partners/LM stakeholders, a medium- and
long-term strategic plan for microcredentials and short-learning programs
• Recognize microcredentials and short-learning programs for fluid credential
evaluation in networks and alliances
https://e-slp.eadtu.eu/images/deliverable9second.pdf
CC-BY-SA 4.0 26
Recommendations: governmental level
• Engage in a dialogue with higher education institutions on the
implementation of the European Commission Recommendation on
microcredentials, December 2021.
• Collaborate with universities and stakeholder groups to develop policies
to build a lifelong learning ecosystem that enables citizens to participate
in continuing education and professional development on a massive
scale throughout their lives.
• Improve the financing of microcredentials and SLPs to meet the needs
of the economy and society related to emerging disciplines, such as
digitalisation, health care, education and training, climate change and
other fields.
CC-BY-SA 4.0 27
Thank you!
Further information:
George.ubachs@eadtu.eu
Website: eadtu.eu
https://emc.eadtu.eu/cmf-awarded-programmes
CC-BY-SA 4.0 28

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George Ubachs - Microcredentials & modularity

  • 1. Short learning programmes microcredentials and modularisation EADTU Webinar Week on Microcredentials George Ubachs Managing director EADTU CC-BY-SA 4.0 1
  • 2. Overview • Short learning programmes • The Common Microcredential Framework (CMF) • Modularity CC-BY-SA 4.0 2
  • 4. CC-BY-SA 4.0 4 Icon made by Icon from www.flaticon.com Our society requires learning for our lifespan (LLL) with the purpose of “improving our knowledge, skills and competences, within personal, civic, social or employment-related perspectives”. https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/statistics-explained/index.php/Glossary:Lifelong_learning
  • 5. More flexible, shorter programmes • The size and value of short programmes make it attractive for learners to specialise, upskill or retrain in higher education. • Current system offer two options for following higher education: an accredited (part-time) programme or a non-accredited module or course. • Modules or other small educational units often fit better with the flexibility that workers need but are not accredited More flexible offerings needed, putting flexibilisation and modularisation in higher education high on the agenda. CC-BY-SA 4.0 5
  • 6. CEPD as a public good Continuing education and professional development should become a fully fledged area of higher education provision and funded as a public good (in combination with institutional business models); CC-BY-SA 4.0 6
  • 7. Three academic areas of provision Degree education Continuing education and professional development Open education CC-BY-SA 4.0 7
  • 8. Stakeholder perspectives • Leadership: development / extension of continuing education and professional development; institutional frameworks and conditions; • Employers: knowledge and skills updating staff; career development • Learners: restricted and structured workload, flexibility, study-work-life balance • Teaching staff / support services: design of CEPD courses and programmes • Governments and EU: establishing national and EU frameworks for continuing education and professional development – Bologna tools CC-BY-SA 4.0 8
  • 9. Why (MOOC-based) SLPs? • SLPs respond better to the time horizon of learners in continuing education and professional development than an entire bachelor and master programme; • By stackability, they motivate students to continue studies to a degree programme; • SLPs stimulate modularity in higher education; • SLPs promote recognition of continuing education programmes. CC-BY-SA 4.0 9
  • 10. Short Learning Programmes • SLPs consist of a coherent set of learning building blocks (or microcredentials) organised around steady learning outcomes, leading to an exam and ultimately to a credential/qualification; • SLPs vary in size, from 5 to 30 ECTS, and can reach 5 to 8 EQF level; • SLPs are provided by a HEIs; • SLPs can be delivered in online or blended mode; • SLPs can be stackable to a broader programme such as an academic degree; • a SLP credential is accompanied by a document that details the main characteristics of the programme and the achievements of the student; • the quality of SLPs is assessed by the internal quality assurance procedure of each HEI CC-BY-SA 4.0 10
  • 11. Examples of good practice: joint SLPs • Climate change • New rights • Online and blended learning • Digital transformation and enterprises • Digital competent educators https://e- slp.eadtu.eu/images/publications_and_outputs/D62_Re port_on_collaborative_SLPs_and_related_mobility.pdf Universidade Aberta 2021 CC-BY-SA 4.0 11
  • 12. Design of short learning programmes • Design of SLPs: https://e- slp.eadtu.eu/images/D42_Guidelines_final.pdf • Design of collaborative SLPs: https://e- slp.eadtu.eu/images/Report_on_collaborative_design.pdf • Design of joint microcredential programmes: (not yet published, available at EADTU) • Design of joint microcredential courses: (not yet published, available at EADTU) Universidade Aberta 2021 CC-BY-SA 4.0 12
  • 13. CC-BY-SA 4.0 13 THE COMMON MICROCREDENTIAL FRAMEWORK (CMF)
  • 14. ESLP Focus Groups May 2021 CC-BY-SA 4.0 14
  • 16. Common Microcredential Framework CC-BY-SA 4.0 16 EMC developed CMF in response to the question: how to harmonize the current wide variation of certificates offered in higher education, which lead to confusion and challenges related to recognition?
  • 17. Demand for a more standardised credential There is great variation within credentials and between them. Employers need a common standard to support lifelong learning
  • 19. The microcredential adds a quality mark (from the Dutch Acceleration Plan HE) • Third parties (labour market, institutions, etc.) can be sure that this person actually masters the knowledge or skills associated with the microcredentials. • The achievement of these learning outcomes is traceable and verifiable. • A national registration can be made of who has achieved which microcredential. • The recognized value of microcredentials gives professionals more control over their own development and develop a path by combining various programmes and institutions. • Be assured that learning outcomes achieved will also be recognised elsewhere, so that the opportunities to build on already acquired knowledge, skills and competences also open up. • The size and value of microcredentials make it attractive to specialise, upskill or retrain in higher education. (Professionals often need specific training or retraining. Not necessarily to a full degree) 19
  • 20. Value of SLPs and MOOCs are determined by: • Quality (HEI’s) • Recognition • Relevance (learner – company) CC-BY-SA 4.0 20
  • 22. Modularisation and stackability • We distinguish two ways of modularisation; -breaking down existing bigger programmes into smaller units of education, preferably 5 ects or 30 ects. -building new programmes by developing new short learning programmes that can build up to bigger programmes of diploma’s and degrees. • Pre-stackability is an important aspect here to be included as a pathway in new programmes. As for the first format stackability is included by definition. CC-BY-SA 4.0 22
  • 23. Responsive microcredentals • Microcredentials need to be developed as responsive short programmes to market needs. How can MCs play a Bigger role in education by interaction with companies and labour market stakeholders in general? CC-BY-SA 4.0 23
  • 24. Co-creation with external stakeholders •Needs analysis •Content co-creation •Course evaluation •Internship providers •Recognition and professional accreditation •Employment prospects •Research and innovation opportunities •Financial sponsors, … CC-BY-SA 4.0 24
  • 25. From learning unit to degree programme Volume (ECTS) Level Award Learning unit/micro-learning Less than 1 ECTS Undergraduate EQF level 5, 6 Postgraduate EQF level 7,8 a badge/proof of attendance (can be part of a course or stackable to a course) A single course A microcredential course A single MOOC with credits Number of ECTS credits awarded to the course Undergraduate EQF level 5, 6 Postgraduate EQF level 7,8 ECTS course credits (stackable to a programme) CMF- microcredential programme MOOC pathway 4-6 ECTS Undergraduate EQF level 5, 6 Postgraduate EQF level 7,8 microcredential gradeo (stackable in a microcredential programme or a degree programme) Microcredential programme Microdegree programme MOOC-based programme 20-40 ECTS Undergraduate EQF level 5, 6 Postgraduate EQF level 7,8 undergraduate/postgraduatcertificate Microdegree, specialisation certificate expert certificate, certified, professional programme, focus diploma, Diploma(stackable to degree programme Degree programme (bachelor/master/docto rate) 180 ECTS 60-90-120 ECTS 240 (180) ECTS Undergraduate EQF level 5, 6 Postgraduate EQF level 7,8 short cycle graduate bachelor/master degree doctorate degree CC-BY-SA 4.0 25
  • 26. Recommendations: institutional level • Build a consistent institutional qualification structure for continuing education and professional development • Stimulate multilateral agreements between institutions on a common qualification framework • Develop, in cooperation with the social partners/LM stakeholders, a medium- and long-term strategic plan for microcredentials and short-learning programs • Recognize microcredentials and short-learning programs for fluid credential evaluation in networks and alliances https://e-slp.eadtu.eu/images/deliverable9second.pdf CC-BY-SA 4.0 26
  • 27. Recommendations: governmental level • Engage in a dialogue with higher education institutions on the implementation of the European Commission Recommendation on microcredentials, December 2021. • Collaborate with universities and stakeholder groups to develop policies to build a lifelong learning ecosystem that enables citizens to participate in continuing education and professional development on a massive scale throughout their lives. • Improve the financing of microcredentials and SLPs to meet the needs of the economy and society related to emerging disciplines, such as digitalisation, health care, education and training, climate change and other fields. CC-BY-SA 4.0 27
  • 28. Thank you! Further information: George.ubachs@eadtu.eu Website: eadtu.eu https://emc.eadtu.eu/cmf-awarded-programmes CC-BY-SA 4.0 28

Editor's Notes

  1. These features are coherent with the CMF, i.e. the reference to ECTS, DS, learning outcomes, EQF and a “system of quality assurance in line with the ESG” has been made with the purpose of adopting a common ground and language that could foster a larger recognition of SLPs (European-Commission/EACEA/Eurydice, 2018).
  2. which saw the involvement of the main European MOOC platforms: FutureLearn, FUN, Miríadax, EduOpen and the MOOC portal OpenupEd
  3. CMF makes use of Bologna tools such as the European Qualifications Framework (EQF), the European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS) and the Diploma Supplement (DS) to provide a base for mutual trust and recognition by promoting transparency and offering common language across institutions and beyond. Courses described and designed in accordance to CMF respect the following criteria (see Figure 1): have a total workload 100 - 150 hours (4-6 ECTS); are levelled at Level 6 (bachelor) to 7 (Master) of the EQF/NQF, with options for level 5 (in combination with ECTS); provide assessment enabling the award of academic credit, either following successful completion of the course or RLP; operate a reliable method of ID verification at the point of assessment; provide a transcript (DS) setting out the learning outcomes for a course, hours of study required, EQF level, and number of credit points earned.