“Learning is an experience. Everything else is just information.” By Albert Einstein
Over the last few years micro-credentialing and badging have been buzz words in the education world. Yet if you look closely into what micro-credential and badges are; they have the potential to transform what professional learning for educators looks like.
Micro-credentialing recognizes educators for the skills they learn in order to build learning experiences for their students. The perks of micro-credentialing includes the ability to have choice, pace and personal growth needs met. School districts can use micro-credentialing to provide incentives for educators to deepen their knowledge. Badges are the physical representation received once proficiency is met.
- Competency-based: Micro-credentials allow educators to focus on a discrete skill related to their practice — for instance, checking for student understanding — and collect the evidence — such as classroom videos or student work to demonstrate ability in that specific skill.
- On-demand: Through an agile online platform that clearly identifies each micro-credential’s competency and required evidence, educators can start and continue the process of earning micro-credentials on their own time. (Our district currently using Canvas to build our virtual courses)
- Personalized: Because educators are able to select the micro-credentials they wish to earn, they can create their own professional learning journey aligned to their specific student needs and school-wide instructional goals.
Currently in my school district we have been using micro-credentials in isolation by department. For example, the Personalized Learning Department has a set of badges while ESL has a different set. This was a great start to micro-credentialing but we came across a few barriers such as:
- Each department criteria was very different. If we continued working in isolation we realized the badges would not mean as much because they would lose their “value”. How do we build expectations to meet all department needs?
- Each department was grading their micro-credential course work but some departments are smaller than others. How do we scale micro-credentialing to meet district needs?
- Teachers are required to be continuous learners to renew licensure. How can we connect micro-credentials to credits without it being compliant?
In order to help overcome these issue and barriers, our district created a micro-credentialing steering committee. The steering committees goal is to unify the requirements, build consistency and sustainability for all educators in our district.
I hope our experience can help those that have not yet started with micro-credentialing learn from our mistakes. I would love to hear what other districts are doing with micro-credentialing so we can learn from your experiences. Please share in the comments below.