EPICUR European University welcomes the European approach to micro-credentials
In this position paper, prepared within the framework of the EU Consultation on microcredentials,EPICUR would like to emphasise the importance for European Higher Education Institutions to act now by helping to shape this important development and embedding micro-credentials into their learning environments.
EPICUR strongly supports and adopts the proposed shared definition of micro-credentials outlined in the Final Report of the Micro-Credentials Higher Education Consultation Group published in December 2020 and presents EPICUR’s persepctive towards micro-credentials as well as the opportunities already available within the alliance. EPICUR is committed to contribute to the further iteration of the 10 key building blocks identified in the aforementioned report.
The objective of the European approach to micro-credentials is to facilitate their validation, recognition and portability, and to foster a larger uptake to support individual learners to gain and update their knowledge, skills and competences in any subject area, at all stages of their career and in any learning environment.
EPICUR firmly believes that embracing and further shaping micro-credentials is a fantastic opportunity for helping to facilitate harmonisation of quality standards between the teaching offerings of the alliances. Furthermore, the technical support for issuing, tracking and monitoring micro-credentials calls for compatibility between the learning infrastructures deployed by the alliances, to allow for optimising student/staff ownership and portability of micro-credentials.
For EPICUR, micro-credentials and badges are a means to help achieve educational innovation by the development of novel mobilities, student-centred learning and teaching but distinguishes between micro-credits and badges as follows:
- Micro-credentials are a means to certify, reward and recognise academic learning outcomes: the learning outcomes of any EPICUR micro-credential are based on defined competencies, such as solid academic acquisition of knowledge and critical thinking in the (inter)disciplinary context of the short learning experience.
- Badges are a means to capture, certify, reward and recognise (personal) skills and achievements: the achievements leading to the awarding of any EPICUR badge are based on a demonstration of successful attainment of a specific personal skill or achievement in the context of a programme of study or a short learning experience.
EPICUR believes that one of the most promising features of European micro-credentials is the potential they offer for flexibility in designing learning options. In the context of the EPICUR teaching and learning offers, micro-credentials can be issued after successful completion of learning pathways (a modular pocket of courses). Furthermore, an adapted version of a micro-credential, a so-called nano-credential can be offered upon successful completion of part of a course, acknowledging the attainment of a specific learning outcome or academic skill. In both cases, the learning outcomes are clearly defined beforehand and the assessment criteria are transparent and compliant with Quality Assurance standards.
EPICUR offers a wide range of opportunities for experimentation and deployment of micro-credentials and badges, including:
- Learning pathways in European languages
- Short Learning Programmes in Liberal Arts and Sciences
- Internship exchange programmes
EPICUR will develop an inclusive gamification framework in order to reward student’s activities. This framework will be used in order to motivate and steer the students to choose and follow meaningful learning pathways by exploiting the concepts of Badges and Nano-Credentials in order to create stackable Micro-Credentials.