Take Small Bites and Chew Slowly: The Benefits of Microcredentials
Have you heard about microcredentials? It’s a new approach to professional development in a smaller, focused format.
How does microcredentials work?
Professionals complete a discrete, competency-based task. The organization offering microcredentials can then issue badges, continuing education credits, or other verification of completion.
What might this process look like in practice?
Let’s say a K12 school district typically offers face-to-face courses for teachers’ professional development. Teachers sign on and attend a number of hours of training and are then awarded continuing professional development, or CPD, credit for participating in those workshop trainings.
If that same K12 school district redesigned the learning using the microcredentialing approach, several components would change, including:
● The time unit would be smaller. It’s easier for busy educators to fit a 15- or 30-minute professional development session into their busy schedules.
● The learning experience is skill based and related to on-the-job tasks.
Putting literacy groups into action!
● Teachers participate in a round-robin of 15-minute classroom observations watching a particular instructional approach and then videotape and submit their own attempt for a smaller portion of CPD credit.
● Participation in multiple microcredential mini courses of varying topics earns the required amount needed to maintain their certification.
So, how can you put microcredentials into practice for your employees?
1. Evaluate your current professional development training plan. Determine what certifications are awarded. Does your organization require teachers to pass a certain amount of seat time or regularly pass a particular assessment? What activities or assessments are currently meeting your needs, and what could be improved?
2. Evaluate the units of time or certification criteria. Is there a way to break the larger units into smaller, more digestible pieces?
3. Consider how the training could be framed in a more skills-based way. For example, instead of reading about workplace safety, how can employees demonstrate those skills in a real-life way?
4. Reach out to get help if you need it. Consider hiring instructional designers and subject matter experts to assist in the design of your training content.