Micro-credentials might be just the right approach for your district’s professional development program. Think smaller and a more focused format. That’s microcredentials in a nutshell.
How does micro-credentialing work?
Professionals complete a discrete, competency-based task. The organization offering micro-credentials can then issue badges, continuing education credits, or other verification of completion.The biggest advantage of micro-credentials is the ability to customize learning for educators. Teachers can earn credits for skills learned that's best suited to their career needs and professional development goals. Click To Tweet
Putting it 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.
Instead, how about changing the format to something like this. Redesign learning using the micro-credentials and change the components in the following manner.
Plan shorter sessions
Since educators already have a lot on their plate, why not shorten the units? It’s easier for busy educators to fit a 15- or 30-minute professional development session into their busy schedules.
Use a skill-based program
The second approach is to modify the learning to be skill-based and related to on-the-job tasks.
Put literacy groups into action
Another approach is to facilitate teachers’ participation in a round-robin of 15-minute classroom observations. Participants watch a particular instructional approach and then videotape and submit their own attempt for a smaller portion of CPD credit.
Award badges for certification
Participation in multiple micro-credential mini courses of varying topics earns the required amount needed to maintain their certification.
So, how can you put micro-credentials into practice for your employees?
- Evaluate your current professional development training plan. Determine what certifications to award. 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?
- Evaluate the units of time or certification criteria. Is there a way to break the larger units into smaller, more digestible pieces?
- 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?
- 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.
There are several benefits to developing a customized PD program for your staff. It makes learning more meaningful, relevant, and useful. Micro-credentials is one approach to offering programs that meet this objective.