Monday, June 22, 2020

Does Australia Need a Microcredentials Marketplace?

The Australian government is to build a and online microcredentials marketplace, but I am not sure it is needed. The existing Courseseeker website is adequate for searching among 344 relatively homologous short courses, which have similar outcomes, duration, mode of delivery, and credit point value

This project is not quite as exciting, or complex, as it might first appear. The "micro-credentials" the Australian government is currently funding are not really microcredentials, they are conventional university bachelor and graduate certificates, requiring a half year of study. To be eligible for funding the government required the courses to be delivered online. They were required quickly to retrain people made jobless by COVID-19, and so are made up of introductory courses from existing university degrees. As a result there will not be much for students to choose from in terms of outcomes, duration, mode of delivery, or credit point value between the qualifications from different providers. This, of course, assumes the suppliers will be limited mostly to not-for-profit universities.

There is no reason why VET sector institutions, both government and private sector (non and for-profit), could not offer such certificates. The VET sector might be able to bring some innovation to this category of qualification, which is lacking in the university sector. VET has a more flexible approach to education, with recognition of prior learning and competency based assessment.

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