Universities Australa steps up in the wild west of micro-credentials

The lobby releases this morning “new guidance” on micro-credentials.

“A lack of standardisation provides challenges for the recognition and portability of microcredentials,” Keitha Dunstan (Bond U) and colleagues write*.

They propose minimum standards for MCs to be recognised by Australian universities.

* clear evidence of achievement/outcome: “Issuers of credentials should ensure that credentials are associated with information that enables others to easily understand what knowledge, skills and attributes can be expected of a learner that has been issued with a microcredential”

* an understandable unit of exchange”: given the unregulated way credit is assigned and the mass of credentials, “a sector-wide system for denominating a common unit of exchange amongst providers is currently not feasible.” However what an MC means should, “understandable to others.”

* quality assured and verifiable: “learners, employers and recognising institutions must also be satisfied as to the integrity of the credential”

This is smart: MCs are the wild west of post-compulsory education and training, with neither law on what they actually are or order as to how they interact with formal providers. As the learned Beverley Oliver points out for UNESCO, there is no agreement on what MCs can be (CMM September 23). Until (or if) this is sorted by regulators there needs to be a sheriff providing workable rules that stop the cowboys running riot.  The Dunstan rules, sorry guidance do this – and they also establish UA’s leadership in keeping the MC peace.

* Keitha Dunstan (Bond U), Simon Barrie, (WSU), Theo Farrell (Uni Wollongong), Mark Hoffman (Uni Newcastle), Elizabeth Johnson (Deakin U), Karen Nelson Uni Southern Queensland, Belinda Tynan Australian Catholic U