The Department of Education, Skills and Employment has just released the new National Microcredentials Framework, and we’ve taken a look at what it says and what it means for schools and school leavers.
Microcredentials have been around for a few years now, and the rising popularity of platforms like EdX and LinkedIn Learning means that they’re most likely here to stay.
Universities have started to offer smaller, more specific discrete units of learning, particularly at a post-graduate level,
Employers are willing to recognise microcredentials, and in some cases these may be more highly regarded than a degree on its own, and
Shorter courses allow workers to upskill quickly as new systems and procedures come online.
Until now, the microcredential landscape has been relatively unregulated and without clear terms or definitions it’s been a difficult place for people to navigate, especially as there was/is the risk of investing time, energy and money into a qualification that may or may not be recognised down the track.
The framework defines microcredentials as a certification of assessed learning or competency, with a minimum volume of learning of one hour and less than an AQF award qualification, that is additional, alternate, complementary to or a component part of an AQF award qualification.
What does all this mean for students? Microcredentials are here to stay.
This Framework will make it easier for providers to offer quality, nationally-consistent qualifications that are more readily recognised by employers, as well as by other assessment bodies (including universities).
“A framework can help reduce complications for learners seeking to make a decision on what to learn, for recognising bodies or providers seeking to recognise a microcredential for credit, and for employers or professional bodies seeking to understand the learning outcomes and capabilities of employees”.
At Study Work Grow, we expect to see more microcredentials specifically aimed at school leavers, and will keep on top of what’s being released and ensure all programs we share are designed in line with the National Microcredentials Framework.
But, students need to be aware that there are standards for microcredentials, and if they’ve found a course they’re interested in they should check before they start that the qualification they’re working towards will be recognised and meets the standard required. This is particularly important for students taking a course from an overseas provider, who may not be aware of the Australian standards.
Before you enrol, the provider should tell you these things:
The intended learning outcomes
The mode of delivery (so, is it online, will there be live webinars, is any of it face to face?)
Any specific delivery dates or deadlines
How much work you’ll need to commit to, and how long you can expect the course to take
What will be covered, and why you’ll be covering it
Any prerequisites or things you must have done before you can enrol
Any inherent requirements, so do you have to be over a certain age, living in a certain location, have the necessary internet access and computer, etc.
How much it will cost, including the cost of any final external assessment
What type of assessment you can expect
What you have to do to pass
What type of certificate or proof you will receive
If the qualification will give you credit for any other courses
And the provider must also provide an assurance of quality.
This way, you will know what you’re learning, why you’re learning it, what you can do with the learning and certificate, and all the specifics about when, where, and how much.
The National Microcredential Framework also sets out minimum standards for the marketplace, and they believe all courses should be at least one hour long, and linked with a level of mastery (so, novice to expert).
From the Framework:
What can constitute a microcredential?
✓ VET skill sets or units of
✓ Modularised, assessed components of existing higher education curriculum or
✓ Industry learning that is assessed (such as vendor certifications, professional learning).
✓ Other forms of assessed learning or competencies (e.g. Vocational Education/ Higher Education /Industry courses not currently accredited by a regulatory authority, and those by other providers).
What does not constitute a microcredential?
╳ Unassessed learning or courses, including work-integrated learning without an assessment.
╳ Badges which are obtained through participation only (i.e. without an assessment).
╳ Formal qualifications within the AQF and macro-credentials, including diplomas, certificates and masters degrees.
The Microcredentials Marketplace
The Department of Education, Skills and Employment is setting up a Microcredentials Marketplace, which will help learners find and compare short courses.
We believe that UAC will be the group creating the Marketplace, and that government bodies and other organisations will be encouraged to list their courses, which means that it should be an excellent resource for learners.
Find the Framework here – https://www.dese.gov.au/higher-education-publications/resources/national-microcredentials-framework