Expanding Education Through Microcredentials

 

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As educators aim to prepare today’s learners for tomorrow’s workforce needs, many are also working and looking to provide learners with more opportunities to accreditation. In fact, an increasing number of universities are expanding access to accreditation by offering their students online programs as an opportunity to learn new skills and gain certification quickly. According to a recent article published on EdTech, author Meghan Cortez asserts that the “[p]artnerships between businesses and universities have been integral to helping college graduates meet the changing technological demands in the workforce” (Cortez). Some of the major benefits to these partnerships include a flexible online space for students to access their course materials, as well as a valuable business model for universities to help better prepare students looking to enter the workforce.  

Students can gain microcredentials by attending and participating in brief programs surrounding a specific skill or topic. After a student completes a program, they will be granted a certificate to indicate their achievement in a new or an existing expertise. While a longer—more traditional—academic degree still has its place in preparing students for their vocational goals, the microcredentials option, however, provides students with an avenue to learn new skills quickly, and at a reduced cost. For instance, students at the University of California can take advantage of a number of specializations offered through Coursera—an online learning platform that works to develop online courses for a variety of colleges and universities. Some of Coursera’s programs require students to take 4 courses over a span of 16-weeks; moreover, its relatively inexpensive cost of $49 a month makes for a cost-effective approach for students simply looking to acquire new skills.

For more information, read the full article on EdTech