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Micro-credentials in Higher Education: A Look at Different Models and Approaches

Micro-credentials, also known as digital badges or micro-creds, are becoming increasingly popular in higher education as a way for students to demonstrate their knowledge and skills in specific areas. These credentials are typically awarded for completing a short course, workshop, or other learning experience, and can be earned in addition to traditional degrees or certifications.

There are several different models and approaches to implementing micro-credentials in higher education. Some common models include:

  1. Stackable micro-credentials: Stackable micro-credentials allow students to earn a series of credentials that can be "stacked" together to form a larger, more comprehensive credential. This model is often used to create a pathway for students to earn a degree or certification.

  2. Competency-based micro-credentials: Competency-based micro-credentials focus on specific skills or knowledge areas and are earned by demonstrating mastery of a certain set of competencies. This model is often used in professional or technical fields.

  3. Embedded micro-credentials: Embedded micro-credentials are awarded as part of traditional degree programs. In this model, students can earn micro-credentials as they progress through their studies, allowing them to demonstrate their knowledge and skills in specific areas even before they graduate.

  4. Open micro-credentials: Open micro-credentials are earned through free, open online courses or other learning experiences. These credentials are usually not linked to a specific institution or program, and can be earned by anyone, anywhere.

  5. Micro-credentials in job training: Micro-credentials are used as a way to demonstrate skills and knowledge in a particular field to potential employers.

Each of these models has its own strengths and limitations, and institutions may choose to implement one or more models depending on their specific needs and goals.

Some institutions choose to implement micro-credentials on their own, while others may partner with outside organizations or companies to create and award credentials. Additionally, some institutions may choose to focus on a specific set of micro-credentials, while others may offer a wide range of credentials across different fields and disciplines.

Overall, micro-credentials have the potential to be a valuable tool for students to demonstrate their knowledge and skills and advance their careers. Institutions have different models and approaches to implement micro-credentials and to support students in earning these credentials. The choice of the model and approach depends on the institution's specific needs and goals.

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