I suppose we should have listened when people told the team I was on at Mozilla time and time again that the name ‘Open Badges’ didn’t work for them. They didn’t seem to get the fact that they could call them anything they liked in their organisations; the important thing was that they aligned with the open standard.
A decade later, and ‘microcredentials’ seems to be one term that’s been adopted, especially towards the formal end of the credentialing spectrum. In this interview, Jackie Pichette, Director of Research and Policy for the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario, takes a Higher Education-centric look at the landscape.
I may be cynical, but it comes across a lot like “that’s all very well in practice, but what about in theory?”
There’s a lot of confusion around the definition of the microcredential. When my colleagues and I started our research in February 2020, just before the world turned upside down, one of our aims was to help establish some common understanding. We engaged experts and consulted literature from around the world to help us answer questions like, What constitutes a microcredential? How is a microcredential different from a digital badge or a certificate?
We landed on an umbrella definition of programs focused on a discrete set of competencies (i.e., skills, knowledge, attributes) that, by virtue of having a narrow focus, require less time to obtain than traditional credentials. We also came up with a typology to show the variation in this definition. For example, microcredentials can be self-paced to accommodate individual schedules, can follow a defined schedule or feature a mix of fixed- and self-paced elements.