Microcredentials, or short-form online learning programs, is the latest buzzword that higher education providers are latching onto. They come with diminutive names such as Micromasters (by several universities working with edX) and nanodegrees (by Udacity). But they have the potential to shake up graduate education, potentially reducing demand for longer, more-traditional professional programs. At the core of the trend is the idea that professionals will go “back to school” repeatedly over their lifetimes, rather than carving out years at a time for an MBA or technical degree.
Credential Engine, a nonprofit funded by the Lumina Foundation, Microsoft and JPMorgan Chase, today launched its Credential Registry, a digital platform where institutions can upload degrees and credentials so prospective students can search for and compare credentials side-by-side.
Udacity won a trademark for Nanodegree last year. And in April, the nonprofit edX, founded by MIT and Harvard University to deliver online courses by a consortium of colleges, applied for a trademark on the word MicroMasters. And MicroDegree? Yep, that’s trademarked too, by yet another company.
colleges and universities that seek to meet corporate needs must move beyond monolithic programs and think in terms of competencies, unbundling curriculum, modularizing and “microlearning.” Many institutions are already pioneering efforts in this direction, from the certificate- and badge-oriented University of Learning Store (led by the Universities of Wisconsin, California, Washington and others) to Harvard Business School’s HBX, and the new “iCert” that we developed at Northeastern University. These types of shorter-form, competency-oriented programs can better fit corporate demands for targeted and applied learning.
2. How did GBL change in the past year? Who is the leader in this research (country)? Is K12 the “playground” for GBL and DGBL?
China: Liao, C., Chen, C., & Shih, S. (2019). The interactivity of video and collaboration for learning achievement, intrinsic motivation, cognitive load, and behavior patterns in a digital game-based learning environment. Computers & Education, 133, 43–55. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.compedu.2019.01.013
Finalnd: Brezovszky, B., Mcmullen, J., Veermans, K., Hannula-Sormunen, M., Rodríguez-Aflecht, G., Pongsakdi, N., … Lehtinen, E. (2019). Effects of a mathematics game-based learning environment on primary school students’ adaptive number knowledge. Computers & Education, 128, 63–74. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.compedu.2018.09.011
Tunesia: Denden, M., Tlili, A., Essalmi, F., & Jemni, M. (2018). Implicit modeling of learners’ personalities in a game-based learning environment using their gaming behaviors. Smart Learning Environments, 5(1), 1–19. https://doi.org/10.1186/s40561-018-0078-6
Pitarch, R. (2018). An Approach to Digital Game-based Learning: Video-games Principles and Applications in Foreign Language Learning. Journal of Language Teaching and Research, 9(6), 1147–1159. https://doi.org/10.17507/jltr.0906.04
zSpace is a technology firm based in Sunnyvale, California that combine elements of virtual and augmented reality in a computer. zSpace allows people to interact with simulated objects in virtual environments as if they are real.
21st-century trends such as makerspaces, flipped learning, genius hour, gamification, and more.
EdLeader21, a national network of Battelle for Kids.has developed a toolkit to guide districts and independent schools in developing their own “portrait of a graduate” as a visioning exercise. In some communities, global citizenship rises to the top of the wish list of desired outcomes. Others emphasize entrepreneurship, civic engagement, or traits like persistence or self-management.
ISTE Standards for Students highlight digital citizenship and computational thinking as key skills that will enable students to thrive as empowered learners. The U.S. Department of Education describes a globally competent student as one who can investigate the world, weigh perspectives, communicate effectively with diverse audiences, and take action.
Frameworks provide mental models, but “don’t usually help educators know what to do differently,” argues technology leadership expert Scott McLeod in his latest book, Harnessing Technology for Deeper Learning. He and co-author Julie Graber outline deliberate shifts that help teachers redesign traditional lessons to emphasize goals such as critical thinking, authenticity, and conceptual understanding.
1. Wondering how to teach and assess 21st-century competencies? The Buck Institute for Education offers a wide range of resources, including the book, PBL for 21st Century Success: Teaching Critical Thinking, Collaboration, Communication, and Creativity (Boss, 2013), and downloadable rubrics for each of the 4Cs.
2. For more strategies about harnessing technology for deeper learning,listen to the EdSurge podcast featuring edtech expert and author Scott McLeod.
3. Eager to see 21st-century learning in action? Getting Smart offers suggestions for using school visits as a springboard for professional learning, including a list of recommended sites. Bob Pearlman, a leader in 21st century learning, offers more recommendations.
According to the comparison, the use of gamification elements in Western learning platforms and apps is balanced and well-developed, both in comprehensive and targeted ones. Conditions are different in China.The use of gamification elements is balanced and well-developed in targeted platforms and apps. But for comprehensive ones, it is not balanced or developed enough, especially in regards to online higher education.
Discussion and Future Work
Gamification in China has been combined witheducation for a long time, but not much in the aspect ofhuman-computer interaction. In the 1990s, peopleoften played games or held parties, while now peopleprefer online entertainment. From the comparisonabove, it can be inferred that the research ofgamification in China has laid a good theoreticalfoundation. We are still trying to apply gamification tothe area of online education, which has already madesome progress. However, the use of gamification isuneven, especially in comprehensive learning platformsand we started a bit late. In this respect, China hasfallen behind Western countries in certain ways ofapplying gamification.
“Playing music is the brain’s equivalent of a full body workout,” says educator Anita Collins in a TED-Ed video on how playing music benefits the brain. Playing music requires the visual, auditory, and motor cortices all at once