What is a micro-credential and why is it important?
The Mind Lab has always been known for its postgraduate certificates and masters qualifications. This year we have started to introduce micro-credentials.
Are they fancy new jargon for a regular professional development course? And why should we take notice of them? I sat down with Hayley Sparks (National Academic Manager at The Mind Lab) to find out more…
What is a micro-credential?
An NZQA-approved short course. Micro-credentials have been introduced as a means of giving educational value to a programme, thus providing a recognised standard of content and delivery. The intention is to be able to formalise professional development. The NZQA has really strict criteria as to what constitutes a micro-credential and requires robust proof of adherence to these criteria. Depending on the criteria that it fulfills, a micro-credential has a Level and a number of credits assigned to it.
What’s the big deal?
The big deal lies in the value assigned to a programme’s relevance; in how applicable it is to industry. A micro-credential has to be proven to address an industry need. And more than that, it has to continue to be proven annually. This is key: if a micro-credential is on offer, it is industry relevant and immediately applicable. It’s value lies in its short duration, relevance, ability to be implemented immediately, and recognition of its education.
Is it industry-recognised?
There is no doubt that it will be. The fact is that micro-credentials are still relatively new in New Zealand. They are extremely popular overseas and that trend will follow here. Due to the fact that micro-credentials rely on industry to dictate content, forward-thinking businesses are in fact formulating individualised learning programmes and partnering with education providers to deliver them; therefore it is only a matter of time for industry to know about them and recognise their value.
Education is an investment in the future and a micro-credential is a sound investment opportunity. They are designed to be completed alongside employment, meaning you don’t need to take time off for study.
The Mind Lab currently offers one micro-credential, Digital Skills for the Workplace which is a 7-week part-time course delivered entirely online.