microcredentials concerns

As students flock to credentials other than degrees, quality-control concerns grow

Policymakers try to bring consistency to what “microcredentials” actually mean

As students flock to credentials other than degrees, quality-control concerns grow

Degro took the course and earned the badge that turned out to be a way to list his new skill in an online resume with a digital graphic that looks like an emoji.

Such non-degree credentials have been growing in popularity.

“We do have a little bit of a Wild West situation right now with alternative credentials,” said Alana Dunagan, a senior research fellow at the nonprofit Clayton Christensen Institute, which researches education innovation. The U.S. higher education system “doesn’t do a good job of separating the wheat from the chaff.”

Thousands of credentials classes aimed at improving specific skills have cropped up outside of traditional colleges. Some classes are boot camps, including those popular with computer coders. Others are even more narrowly focused, such as courses on factory automation and breastfeeding. Colleges and universities have responded by adding non-degree programs of their own.

some 4,000 colleges and other providers issue industry certifications, according to the Lumina Foundation, but fewer than one in 10 are reviewed by a regulatory body or accreditor.

That companies need trained employees is uncontested: More than three-quarters of U.S. manufacturers told the National Association of Manufacturers this year that they had trouble finding and keeping skilled workers.

Despite those hiring and retention concerns, industry appears reluctant to discuss the topic of policing new credentials. The National Association of Manufacturers declined to answer questions.

“If an organization wants to grant a badge, there’s nothing stopping them from doing that,” Richardson said. “It’s important for consumers to do their due diligence.”

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more on microcredentials in this IMS blog
http://blog.stcloudstate.edu/ims?s=microcredentialing

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