Last week, ECIU University presented its micro-credentials white paper at an online event with 300 participants from all over Europe and beyond. The high interest, engaging discussions and support for the paper showed that the micro-credentials movement has momentum.
Sander Lotze, Project Director ECIU University, kicked off by asking why we are investing so much in micro-credentials. ‘If we aim for a European university, it is not our intention to do exactly the same as all the existing universities. We now have the opportunity to look beyond the educational concept in a European context. We envisage an ecosystem of twelve universities with stakeholders. Our future learners are not only students but life-long learners. They work together on challenges, choose their own learning path and come back to the ecosystem, again and again, to pick up or bring in knowledge. All the competencies acquired are then added into a so-called learning passport. To achieve this, micro-credentials are needed. We assume that each individual needs his own learning path. Through micro-credentials, learners can learn in a 'tailor-made' way, throughout their lives.
After the welcoming words of Lotze, it was Mark Browns, Director National Institute of Digital Learning Dublin City University turn. 'One of the reasons for micro-credentials in education is the call for more focus on skills and competences,' says Brown. 'The argument for this is the development of jobs. The World Economic Forum says 50 per cent of all employees will need reskilling by 2025. Jobs are changing and that's going to have an impact.’
Another reason for the need to develop more flexible learning pathways, is to increase life-long learners across Europe, says Brown. ‘As ECIU University we are happy to take up this challenge as a forerunner to pave the road.’
Vanessa Debiais-Sainton, Head of Unit Higher Education at the European Commission, agrees with Brown. According to her, there are three reasons for creating micro-credentials. ‘There is an urgent need for short learning experiences to acquire targeted competencies and skills. Learning and training need to be more learner-centred, accessible for all, and more flexible. And finally, EU standards are needed for ensuring trust, recognition, validation and portability of micro-credentials across the EU