OPINION: Meet certificates and “microcredentials” — they could be the future of higher education — from hechingerreport.org by Arthur Levine and Scott Van Pelt
In years to come, they will become prevalent — and possibly preferred — to college degrees

Excerpt:

What is new is that we are calling them badges and microcredentials and using them primarily to certify specific skills, such as cross-cultural competency, welding and conversational Spanish.

So what are they? Microcredentials are certifications of mastery; badges verify the attainment of specific competencies.

No matter what we are calling them, they may be here to stay.

We now live in a time that is more open to rethinking college and university credentials. We are witnessing experimentation with competency-based education, through which students earn credits by demonstrating skills instead of spending time in courses. We are also seeing discussion of free or reduced tuition, along with subscription pricing that lets students take as many courses as they like for one low cost.

Also see:

Can an AI tutor teach your child to read? — from hechingerreport.org by Jackie Mader
Some AI reading programs are boosting early literacy skills

Excerpt:

Artificial intelligence has been used for years in education to monitor teaching quality, teach classes, grade assignments and tailor instruction to student ability levels. Now, a small but growing number of programs are attempting to use AI to target reading achievement in the early years — a longstanding struggle for America’s schools.

 

Intel expands AI education program to 18 total community colleges — from highereddive.com by Natalie Schwartz

Excerpt:

The technology giant is supplying curriculum and faculty development for participating schools, and is partnering with Dell to provide technical and infrastructure expertise for the program, which can lead to a certificate or associate degree.

The future of AI: Deeper insights, personalization and problem-solving stand to transform how we use AI across devices and industries — from protocol.com by Alex Katouzian

Excerpt:

What comes to mind when you think of AI? In the past, it might have been the Turing test, a sci-fi character or IBM’s Deep Blue-defeating chess champion Garry Kasparov. Today, instead of copying human intelligence, we’re seeing immense progress made in using AI to unobtrusively simplify and enrich our own intelligence and experiences. Natural language processing, modern encrypted security solutions, advanced perception and imaging capabilities, next-generation data management and logistics, and automotive assistance are some of the many ways AI is quietly yet unmistakably driving some of the latest advancements inside our phones, PCs, cars and other crucial 21st century devices. And the combination of 5G and AI is enabling a world with distributed intelligence where AI processing is happening on devices and in the cloud.

Latest Trends in Artificial Intelligence –from newark.com

Excerpt:

Over the past decade, Artificial Intelligence (AI) has meshed into various industries. The era witnessed a dramatic increase in tools, applications, and platforms based on AI and Machine Learning (ML). These technologies have impacted healthcare, manufacturing, law, finance, retail, real estate, accountancy, digital marketing, and several other areas.

Companies are investing in AI research to find out how they can bring AI closer to humans. By 2025 AI software revenues alone will reach above $100 billion globally (Figure 1). This means that we will continue seeing the advancement of AI and Machine Learning (ML)-related technology in foreseeable future. AI changes notably fast, so you’ll need to go out of your way to keep up with the latest trends if you want to stay as informed as possible. Let’s take a look at everything you need to know about the latest AI trends.

 

 

Things To Know Now About the Future of Nondegree Credentials — from stradaeducation.org by Amy Wimmer Schwarb

Excerpt:

Certificates. Licenses. Microcredentials. Nanocredentials. Digital badges.

The array of options for postsecondary education and training has exploded over the last several decades, and interest is still growing: According to Strada Public Viewpoint research, 62 percent of Americans would prefer skills training or another nondegree option if they enrolled in a program within the next six months. In the 1950s, 5 percent of American workers held some type of licensure or certification; today, 30 percent do.

In the absence of an existing system from education providers, employers are starting to do the work of standardizing credentials and making them transferable. 

“They’re starting to act like a mini higher ed system, and with that comes responsibility, and you could maybe say some accountability,” Zanville said. “There’s some interesting work behind the scenes on what that could look like going forward.”

 

Learning technology lessons from the front lines — from chieflearningofficer.com by Neda Schlictman
Deloitte’s accelerated rollout of its global LXP during the initial onslaught of the pandemic yielded many lessons for the organization. Following are insights for those who are seeking what’s next for their learning strategies.

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

More than 330,000 people at Deloitte, across 170 countries, have access to Cura, which aggregates learning content from both internal and external sources and personalizes learning based on the user’s defined skills and interests. Cura enables individual discovery of learning but also allows users to follow prescribed pathways as well as the opportunity to create content.

A cloud-based learner profile may definitely be part of our future learning ecosystems!

 

Coursera: The ‘Amazon’ Of Online Education May Grow By Magnitudes — from seekingalpha.com

Summary

  • Increasing student dissatisfaction and declining enrollment suggest that many people are rethinking traditional methods of higher education.
  • The historical value of universities is becoming defunct as the internet allows a more efficient, less expensive, and more accessible vector of transmitting knowledge.
  • Innovative platforms like Coursera offer students a huge “marketplace” of high-quality courses far less expensive than those in traditional universities.
  • Given Coursera’s minimal barriers to growth and its massive total addressable market, I would not be surprised to see its annual revenue rise by 10X or more within years.
  • COUR may be one of the few recent IPOs which is actually trading below its fundamental fair value – subject to the assumption that online education will eventually supersede traditional models.
 

Gov. Kemp Announces Technical Skills Training Commitment to Prepare 5,500 Georgians for Cloud Computing Careers — from gov.georgia.gov

Excerpt:

Atlanta, GA — [On June 9th], Governor Brian P. Kemp announced a collaborative initiative between the Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG), the Georgia Department of Education (GADOE), the Technology Association of Georgia (TAG), and Amazon Web Services (AWS) to provide cloud computing training and education to 5,500 learners statewide by 2024. Through this initiative, high schools and technical colleges in Georgia will offer cloud computing courses and credentials that align with skills needed to pursue in-demand technical careers.

“The tech industry in Georgia is rapidly growing with exciting job opportunities for Georgians,” said Governor Kemp. “This collaboration with AWS will ensure our citizens have access to innovative training and education to help prepare them for tech jobs in Georgia.”

 

The Short-term Credentials Landscape — from newamerica.org by Monique O. Ositelu, PhD, Clare McCann, and Amy Laitinen
What We See and What Remains Unseen

Abstract

Given the rapid growth in short-term programs, and policymakers’ fast-growing interest to invest federal higher education dollars into very-short-term credentials, we explore what the research does—and does not— show us about such credentials’ utility in the labor market. With concerns about equity, our review of the literature guides us towards caution, as a strong push for short-term certificates may run the risk of reifying socioeconomic stratification.

From DSC:
I wonder…will accreditation move towards the use of crowd-sourced methods? Similar to rating one’s driver or one’s experience with a product, will microcredentials get into more reviews and recommendations from the users of various learning/training-related sites and services?

Will users of a service comment on whether the credential helped them (with a salary increase, with practical knowledge, with an expanded scope of projects at work, etc.)?

 

6 Emerging Technology Trends in Higher Education — from edtechmagazine.com by Amelia Pang
From artificial intelligence to microcredentials, here’s a look at the future.

Excerpts:

1. The Growth of Artificial Intelligence in Higher Ed
2. Actualizing the Potential of Data Analytics to Improve Education
3. A Permanent Place for Blended and Hybrid Course Models
4. The Expansion of Open Educational Resources
5. Microcredentials Provide Business Opportunities for Higher Ed
6. More Investments in Quality Online Learning

 

Microcredential programs on the rise in Canada — from by Sharon Aschaiek; with thanks to Amrit Ahluwalia for this resource out on LinkedIn
Low rates of awareness about microcredentials by prospective students and employers remains a challenge.

Excerpt:

A new report on current views about microcredentials in Canada reveals a majority of higher education institutions are keen to create these concise, competency-focused upskilling programs, and many say the COVID-19 pandemic has made them even more relevant.

Released by the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario (HEQCO) earlier this month, “Making Sense of Microcredentials” reveals what this emerging training trend means from the perspectives of three key stakeholder groups: universities and colleges, prospective students and employers. The 32-page descriptive research report is based on the results of a literature review, 44 interviews (17 with postsecondary schools), and 2,362 surveys, which included 161 representatives from 105 postsecondary institutions, including 41 universities.

Along these lines, see:

Mapping Out a ‘Credential As You Go’ Movement For Higher Education — from edsurge.com by Rebecca Koenig

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

A new initiative called “Credential As You Go” aims to shift this status quo by making it easier for students and workers to earn recognition for their learning—in increments smaller than the colossal college degree.

Its goals include creating a national credentialing system designed around what the journey through higher education and job training actually looks like for many people: intermittent, nonlinear and unpredictable.

Also along the lines of keeping things brief, see:

 

States and School Systems Can Act Now to Dismantle Silos Between High School, College, and Career — from crpe.org by Georgia Heyward, Sarah McCann, & Betheny Gross | May 2021

We offer four ways states can engage K–12:

  • Invest in virtual platforms that support college and career navigation.
  • Incentivize bold experimentation with hybrid learning to design new models that blend school and workplace learning or connect with postsecondary microcredentials.
  • Step in to encourage and regulate high-quality, postsecondary microcredentials that stack toward associate and bachelor degrees.
  • Combine policy with technical assistance to help districts credit out-of-school learning.
 

A second demographic cliff adds to urgency for change — from insidehighered.com by Ray Schroeder
The demographic cliff we have been anticipating since the drop in births with the 2008 recession now has a younger sibling — the COVID-19 cliff is coming with another deep drop in recent births.

Excerpts:

In sum, competition is rapidly growing; the pool of “traditional” students is evaporating; employers are dropping degree requirements; and, with student debt now surpassing $1.7 trillion, we all know that families are looking for more cost-effective paths to the knowledge and skills they seek. “The fundamental business model for delivering education is broken,” said Rick Beyer, a senior fellow and practice area lead for mergers and affiliations at the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges. “The consolidation era started a few years ago. It will continue. We will see more closures.”

What, then, are the bright spots for postsecondary learning?

Online learning tops the list despite some bad press for the hastily put-together remote learning of last year. Adult students, in particular, prefer the flexibility and mobility of online. Enrollment in online programs has continued to increase while overall higher ed enrollments have declined each of the past dozen years.

 

Counting U.S. Postsecondary and Secondary Credentials — from Credential Engine; with thanks to Will Richardson  for this resource
February 2021

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

Learners, educators and policymakers understand that high school completion and education beyond high school are critical to thrive in the workforce. However, until recently an inventory of the number or type of secondary and postsecondary credential opportunities in the United States did not exist. This is the third annual report from Credential Engine that attempts to count all these credentials. The report identifies 967,734 unique credentials in the U.S. in 16 detailed credential categories across four types
of credential providers:

  • Postsecondary educational institutions—359,713 degrees and certificates
  • Massive open online course (MOOC) providers—9,390 course completion certificates, micro-credentials, and online degrees from foreign universities
  • Non-academic providers—549,712 badges, course completion certificates, licenses, certifications, and apprenticeships
  • Secondary schools—48,919 diplomas from public and private secondary schools

Also see:

NLET Releases “Newest Economy” Paper

In The Newest Economy: Welcome to the Credential Currency Revolution, Gordon Freedman, NLET’s president, examines the discontinuity between high schools, community colleges, career and technical education, and workforce development programs and their alignment and linkages to high demand jobs and careers. The paper suggests moving beyond the current array of offerings and labor market tools to a marketplace solution using modern technology and data analytics to link credentials (badges, certifications, degrees) to hiring outcomes.

The paper is a collaboration among NLET, Credential Engine, Southern Regional Economic Board (SREB) and GoEducate, Inc. who together are building a Credential Alliance to further the work described in the report.

Press Release
Executive Summary
Download the Report

 

2021 EDUCAUSE Horizon Report® | Teaching and Learning Edition

2021 EDUCAUSE Horizon Report® | Teaching and Learning Edition

 
This report profiles key trends and emerging technologies and practices shaping the future of teaching and learning and envisions a number of scenarios and implications for that future. It is based on the perspectives and expertise of a global panel of leaders from across the higher education landscape.

 

3 Tech Trends Shaping the Future of Post-Pandemic Teaching and Learning — from campustechnology.com by Rhea Kelly
The landscape of higher education has been transformed by COVID-19, and that impact is a major factor in the 2021 Educause Horizon Report. Here are three key technology trends to watch as the lasting effects of the pandemic play out.

Excerpt:

What’s in store for higher education’s post-pandemic future? The latest Educause Horizon Report has identified the trends, technologies and practices shaping teaching and learning in the wake of COVID-19. The potential lasting effects of the pandemic “loomed large” in the trend selection this year, the report stated, emphasizing that although it remains to be seen whether the transformations of the past year will persist into the future, “it isn’t hard to imagine that higher education may never be the same in some important ways (good or bad).”

In the realm of technology in particular, it’s clear that the pandemic-induced shift to remote learning has dominated the trend landscape. The top three technological trends identified by the report are…

From 2021 EDUCAUSE Horizon Report® | Teaching and Learning Edition

This image relays some of the key technologies and practices such as AI, blended learning, learning analystics, OER, and others

Also see:

Jessica Rowland Williams, director of Every Learner Everywhere, agreed. “The pandemic has given us the unique opportunity to pause and listen to each other, and we are beginning to discover all the ways our experiences overlap,” she said.

 

5 Ways to Marry Higher Ed to Work — from campustechnology.com by Dian Schaffhauser

Excerpts:

  1. Treat employers as customers.
  2. Move beyond the idea of the bachelor degree as the end-all.
  3. Link coursework with competences.
  4. Develop a “shared vocabulary of skills” that can be used by employers and peer institutions.
  5. Design for equity and inclusion.

From DSC:
It’s great to see more articles like this that promote further collaboration — and less siloing — between the worlds of higher education and the workplace.

My guess is that those traditional institutions of higher education who change/adapt quickly enough have a much greater chance at surviving (and even thriving). Those that don’t will have a very rough road ahead. They will be shadows of  what they once were — if they are even able to keep their doors open.

Disruption is likely ahead — especially if more doors to credentialing continue to open up and employers hire based on those skills/credentials. One can feel the changing momentums at play. The tide has been turning for the last several years now (history may show the seeds of change were planted in times that occurred much longer ago).

 
© 2021 | Daniel Christian