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Exploring the Gaps in the Quality Assurance of Micro-credentials: A Global Scoping Review of Current Practices

Mark Brown
Mark Brown
Mark BrownProfessor and Director of the National Institute for Digital Learning at Dublin City University

Full paper at 29th ICDE World Conference, Costa Rica, 8th November 2023

Exploring the Gaps in the Quality Assurance of Micro-credentials: A Global Scoping Review of Current Practices

1 of 37
Exploring the Gaps in the Quality
Assurance of Micro-credentials:
A Global Scoping Review of Current Practices
Mark Brown & Josep M. Duart
#ICDEWC23
@icde_org @UNEDCostaRica @icde_org @UNEDCostaRica
8th November 2023
#ICDEWC23
@icde_org @UNEDCostaRica @icde_org @UNEDCostaRica
Outline…
How are QA agencies responding?
How are leading institutions responding?
Where are some of the quality gaps?
#ICDEWC23
@icde_org @UNEDCostaRica @icde_org @UNEDCostaRica
Before we start…
#ICDEWC23
@icde_org @UNEDCostaRica @icde_org @UNEDCostaRica
1. How are QA agencies responding?
#ICDEWC23
@icde_org @UNEDCostaRica @icde_org @UNEDCostaRica
1. How are QA agencies responding?
#ICDEWC23
@icde_org @UNEDCostaRica @icde_org @UNEDCostaRica
1. How are QA agencies responding?
1
In 25+ countries, we found no national framework, standards or guidelines for micro-credentials. In
many cases, however, there is evidence of a plan or commitment in the future to integrating quality
assurance standards for micro-credentials within existing requirements.
No specific quality assurance standards for micro-credentials

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Exploring the Gaps in the Quality Assurance of Micro-credentials: A Global Scoping Review of Current Practices

  • 1. Exploring the Gaps in the Quality Assurance of Micro-credentials: A Global Scoping Review of Current Practices Mark Brown & Josep M. Duart #ICDEWC23 @icde_org @UNEDCostaRica @icde_org @UNEDCostaRica 8th November 2023
  • 2. #ICDEWC23 @icde_org @UNEDCostaRica @icde_org @UNEDCostaRica Outline… How are QA agencies responding? How are leading institutions responding? Where are some of the quality gaps?
  • 3. #ICDEWC23 @icde_org @UNEDCostaRica @icde_org @UNEDCostaRica Before we start…
  • 4. #ICDEWC23 @icde_org @UNEDCostaRica @icde_org @UNEDCostaRica 1. How are QA agencies responding?
  • 5. #ICDEWC23 @icde_org @UNEDCostaRica @icde_org @UNEDCostaRica 1. How are QA agencies responding?
  • 6. #ICDEWC23 @icde_org @UNEDCostaRica @icde_org @UNEDCostaRica 1. How are QA agencies responding? 1 In 25+ countries, we found no national framework, standards or guidelines for micro-credentials. In many cases, however, there is evidence of a plan or commitment in the future to integrating quality assurance standards for micro-credentials within existing requirements. No specific quality assurance standards for micro-credentials
  • 7. #ICDEWC23 @icde_org @UNEDCostaRica @icde_org @UNEDCostaRica 1. How are QA agencies responding? 1 In 25+ countries, we found no national framework, standards or guidelines for micro-credentials. In some cases, however, there is evidence of a plan or commitment in the future to integrating quality assurance standards for micro-credentials within existing requirements. 2 In Australia, Canada (x3), United Kingdom, Estonia, Spain (x2), Germany and The Netherlands we found common standards already apply for micro-credentials, and tangible evidence of a decision to extend the application of existing standards for their quality assurance. No specific quality assurance standards for micro-credentials Common standards and quality assurance processes apply for micro-credentials
  • 8. #ICDEWC23 @icde_org @UNEDCostaRica @icde_org @UNEDCostaRica 1. How are QA agencies responding? Estonia Germany Spain
  • 9. #ICDEWC23 @icde_org @UNEDCostaRica @icde_org @UNEDCostaRica 1. How are QA agencies responding? United Kingdom
  • 10. #ICDEWC23 @icde_org @UNEDCostaRica @icde_org @UNEDCostaRica 1. How are QA agencies responding? https://www.education.gov.au/higher-education-publications/resources/national-microcredentials-framework Enabling Australia
  • 11. #ICDEWC23 @icde_org @UNEDCostaRica @icde_org @UNEDCostaRica 1. How are QA agencies responding? https://oucqa.ca/framework/definitions/ Institutional QA Processes Ontario, Canada
  • 12. #ICDEWC23 @icde_org @UNEDCostaRica @icde_org @UNEDCostaRica 1. How are QA agencies responding? 1 In 25+ countries, we found no national framework, standards or guidelines for micro-credentials. In many cases, however, there is evidence of a plan or commitment in the future to integrating quality assurance standards for micro-credentials within existing requirements. 2 In Australia, Canada (x3), United Kingdom, Estonia, Spain (x2), Germany and The Netherlands we found common standards already apply for micro-credentials, and tangible evidence of a decision to extend the application of existing standards for their quality assurance. 3 In Malaysia, New Zealand, and Ireland we identified a framework or specific standards or guidelines for micro-credentials to address particular issues related to their quality assurance. No specific quality assurance standards for micro-credentials Common standards and quality assurance processes apply for micro-credentials Specific guidelines and quality assurance processes developed for micro-credentials
  • 13. #ICDEWC23 @icde_org @UNEDCostaRica @icde_org @UNEDCostaRica 1. How are QA agencies responding? 2023 October Inclusive of M icro-credentials
  • 14. #ICDEWC23 @icde_org @UNEDCostaRica @icde_org @UNEDCostaRica 1. How are QA agencies responding?
  • 15. #ICDEWC23 @icde_org @UNEDCostaRica @icde_org @UNEDCostaRica 1. How are QA agencies responding? • Management, Staffing and Administration • Teaching, Learning and Assessment • Participant support • Facilities • Premises and facilities in the case of face-to-face delivery Standards and Indicators https://www.the-bac.org/micro-credentials-pilot-scheme/
  • 16. #ICDEWC23 @icde_org @UNEDCostaRica @icde_org @UNEDCostaRica 2. How are leading institutions responding?
  • 17. #ICDEWC23 @icde_org @UNEDCostaRica @icde_org @UNEDCostaRica 2. How are leading institutions responding?
  • 18. #ICDEWC23 @icde_org @UNEDCostaRica @icde_org @UNEDCostaRica 2. How are leading institutions responding? http://peqab.ca/Publications/OMC%20final%20for%20posting%20FINAL.pdf
  • 19. #ICDEWC23 @icde_org @UNEDCostaRica @icde_org @UNEDCostaRica 2. How are leading institutions responding? 343 11 12 20/03/202 3 93% Online 20/03/2023
  • 20. #ICDEWC23 @icde_org @UNEDCostaRica @icde_org @UNEDCostaRica 2. How are leading institutions responding? 20/03/202 3 93% Online
  • 21. #ICDEWC23 @icde_org @UNEDCostaRica @icde_org @UNEDCostaRica 2. How are leading institutions responding? 93% Online https://cdn.csu.edu.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0003/4137924/Micro-Credential-Framework.pdf
  • 22. #ICDEWC23 @icde_org @UNEDCostaRica @icde_org @UNEDCostaRica 2. How are leading institutions responding? 93% Online On-campus = 0 Hybrid = 0 Online = 150 Blended = 95 30/05/2023 https://microcreds.ie/ 66% Online
  • 23. #ICDEWC23 @icde_org @UNEDCostaRica @icde_org @UNEDCostaRica 2. How are leading institutions responding? 93% Online https://www.tcd.ie/teaching-learning/academic-affairs/postgraduate-education/microcredentials/§ QC ◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊ 20/03/2023
  • 24. #ICDEWC23 @icde_org @UNEDCostaRica @icde_org @UNEDCostaRica 2. How are leading institutions responding? 20/03/202 3 93% Online https://www.versnellingsplan.nl/en/Kennisbank/pilot-microcredentials-2/
  • 25. #ICDEWC23 @icde_org @UNEDCostaRica @icde_org @UNEDCostaRica 3. Where are some of the quality gaps?
  • 26. #ICDEWC23 @icde_org @UNEDCostaRica @icde_org @UNEDCostaRica 3. Where are some of the quality gaps? • Limited info on QA • No course quality rating • Limited careers guidance • No learner support information • Little or no outcomes data A lost opportunity?
  • 27. #ICDEWC23 @icde_org @UNEDCostaRica @icde_org @UNEDCostaRica 3. Where are some of the quality gaps? https://micro-credentials.studyonline.ca
  • 28. #ICDEWC23 @icde_org @UNEDCostaRica @icde_org @UNEDCostaRica 3. Where are some of the quality gaps? Large gaps in the data Photo by Arjun MJ on Unsplash
  • 29. #ICDEWC23 @icde_org @UNEDCostaRica @icde_org @UNEDCostaRica 3. Where are some of the quality gaps? https://www.compared.edu.au
  • 30. #ICDEWC23 @icde_org @UNEDCostaRica @icde_org @UNEDCostaRica 3. Where are some of the quality gaps? Doesn’t give students good advice https://www.iteca.edu.au/ITECA/Content/News/2023/he-q2/mc.marketplace.shutdown.call.aspx
  • 31. #ICDEWC23 @icde_org @UNEDCostaRica @icde_org @UNEDCostaRica 3. Where are some of the quality gaps? Photo by Alexas_Fotos on Unsplash Outside of Country
  • 32. #ICDEWC23 @icde_org @UNEDCostaRica @icde_org @UNEDCostaRica 3. Where are some of the quality gaps? https://jime.open.ac.uk/
  • 33. #ICDEWC23 @icde_org @UNEDCostaRica @icde_org @UNEDCostaRica Final remarks… EUROPEAN STANDARDS AND GUIDELINES DEVELOPMENT GUIDES AND BENCHMARKING TOOLS COUNTRY SPECIFIC QUALITY FRAMEWORKS AND GUIDELINES New QA considerations? Enabling or Constraining? Quality Conversations! 2018
  • 34. #ICDEWC23 @icde_org @UNEDCostaRica @icde_org @UNEDCostaRica Photo by Arjun MJ on Unsplash Final remarks…
  • 35. #ICDEWC23 @icde_org @UNEDCostaRica @icde_org @UNEDCostaRica Reflective questions How can we strengthen existing quality assurance frameworks to support high quality micro-credentials available fully online and to learners living outside of country? Where can we find mature examples of institutions responding to the quality assurance considerations related to micro-credentials? How can we better engage learners as partners and key stakeholders in developing quality assurance practices for micro-credentials?
  • 36. #ICDEWC23 @icde_org @UNEDCostaRica @icde_org @UNEDCostaRica SPECIAL ISSUE Micro-credentials – The Next Generation in Open, Flexible and Distance Education Prof Mark Brown, Dr Mitchell Peters & Dr Elaine Beirne Abstracts Due 15th December 2023 2022
  • 37. Thank you! Mark and Josep #ICDEWC23 @icde_org @UNEDCostaRica @icde_org @UNEDCostaRica