INTHEBLACK July 2020 - Page 37



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WHY NOT ALL
MICRO-CREDENTIALS ARE EQUAL
M I C R O - C R E D E N T I A L S A R E I N C R E AS I N G LY C O N S I D E R E D A M E AS U R E O F
E M P L OYA B I L I T Y A N D E M P L O Y E E D E V E L O P M E N T, B U T M A K E S U R E Y O U AS K
T H E R I G H T Q U E S T I O N S B E F O R E C H O O S I N G A C O U R S E T H AT S U I T S Y O U .
I
AT A
GLANCE


Micro-credentials form an
important part of
continuous learning for
any professional looking
to stay relevant.
42 ITB July 2020
However, with no
formal structure in
place in terms of quality
assurance, it is important
to know what to look for
when considering your
course options.
n a fast-moving workplace, upskilling has become
a constant requirement in order for professionals
to stay relevant.
Most employees will need to manage multiple
career transitions over their working life, and build
career paths and business opportunities through
continuous learning.
Micro-credentials can be a sound solution
for the need to update and refresh skills, from
technical to managerial, including soft skills such as
communication and problem-solving.
In fact, employability skills are expected to be the
fundamental requirement for almost two-thirds of
all jobs in Australia by 2030, according to Deloitte
Access Economics, while employers globally are
looking at acquired micro-credentials as a measure
of employee development.
It is now possible to sign up for short courses in
almost anything, from risk management in banking
to how to become a CEO.
However, the trick is finding a course that
resonates not only with you, but also with your
employer and your industry.
On the one hand, the value of a micro-credential
offered by a private organisation is determined by
the employees who do the course and the potential
employers who consider its weight when comparing
candidates’ CVs, says Simon Eassom, executive general
manager, Member Education, at CPA Australia.
On the other hand, there is no universal
framework that includes a consistent language
around micro-credentials and quality assurance
mechanisms, says Cherie Diaz, managing director
Australia at OpenLearning, one of the world’s largest
online education platforms.
“This creates confusion for learners, and locks
out many providers who are delivering valuable, indemand skills,” she says.
“From an employer’s perspective, if someone comes
to them with a certificate or a badge, they need to
know what that means.”
Despite the complexity, there are ways to decide if
that course you are considering is beneficial to your
career progression.
CHOOSING THE RIGHT SHORT COURSE
If you want to update your skills, finding a course
recommended by your professional body is always
a smart idea.
STORY HELEN HAWKES
TOWA R D S A M I C ROCREDENTIALING
FRAMEWORK
OpenLearning’s Cherie
Diaz, managing director,
Australia, and its CEO
Adam Brimo have
written a lifelong
learning, microcredentialing framework
that launched on 1 July.
They suggest that microcredentials be centred
around hours, and
evidence of learning
to show a development
of knowledge, skills and
competency in a
particular area be
classified as OpenCreds.
CPA Australia has
previously urged the
government to consider
revisions that would
encompass the new way
adults learn in its
Australian Qualifications
Framework, the policy for
regulated qualifications
within the education and
training system.
Researching the current skills of someone higher
up in your industry, or in the job you want, can also
provide you with clues about which areas to skill up
in next.
“It’s also a good idea to keep an eye on the trends
appearing in your industry or profession, to see what
skills may be needed in the future to stay relevant,”
says Edwin Trevor-Roberts, CEO of the career
management organisation Trevor-Roberts.
Beyond that, and even badges and certificates,
Diaz suggests you ask a series of questions to decide
if the course you are choosing offers true value.
Who is the organisation or individual delivering
the course?
Check their experience in the industry, and their
alignment with other educational organisations or
industry authorities.
While many private organisations now offer microcredential courses, you may feel safer choosing a
course from a reputable university or a platform such
as openlearning.com, where all courses undergo a
quality assurance process.
Is the course industry current, or has the provider
worked with industry representatives to develop or
provide it?
What is the approach to the learning itself ?
Aim for depth in learning; for example, activities
that enable you to build upon your current experience
and, importantly, the ability to build a connection with
your peers.
What is the support model?
“You may need assistance to get the most
out of the learning,” Diaz says.
If there is an assessment, is it enabling you
to demonstrate your skills/understanding or
is it just multiple choice?
What are the learning outcomes?
Will the course simply add to your personal or
professional knowledge, but not be certified by an
independent educational, industry or government body?
Or is it the first step on a ladder of courses that will
lead to a qualification? Do you get to build a portfolio
of evidence that is likely to be useful to your career?
Finally, while learning intelligence – the ability to
acquire and learn new things – is a critical success
factor for careers in the future, micro-credentialing
must be part of a longer-term career strategy to
ensure a sense of cohesion to what is being learnt,
says Trevor-Roberts.
intheblack.com July 2020 43

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