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Multi-State Collaboration Leads to Creation of Micro-Credentialing in an Educational Human Capital System Framework (September 2019)

The South Central Comprehensive Center (SC3) at the University of Oklahoma Outreach hosted a multi-state collaboration with two other Regional Comprehensive Centers (RCCs) during the 2018-2019 school year. SC3, the Appalachia Regional Comprehensive Center (ARCC), and the Southeast Comprehensive Center (SECC) facilitated cross-state learning of state education agencies (SEAs) in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Tennessee. Collaborators co-created the Micro-credentialing in an Educational Human Capital System Framework to assist SEAs and local education agencies in “building their capacity to explore, plan, and implement micro-credentials (MCs) effectively in their educational human capital systems.”

According to the introduction of the document:

It is based on a review of literature and learnings from states and districts that have implemented micro-credentials. The framework also incorporates two of the four stages (exploration and installation) and key processes identified within implementation science. Implementation is defined as a specified set of activities designed to put into practice an activity or program of known dimensions—in this case, micro-credentials.

The intent is that states and districts will make informed decisions about when and how to explore and install micro-credentials effectively within their human capital systems.

The framework first includes an overview of micro-credentialing in education that contains background information; the purposes of the framework; and potential goals/outcomes of micro-credentialing/badging programs. The second section focuses on the initial exploration of micro-credentials by briefly describing potential preliminary activities, including forming a stakeholder group, conducting a needs and interest assessment, and reviewing the literature and state and district examples of effective uses of micro-credentials in human capital systems. This section proposes preliminary considerations in answering the following questions:

  • Why micro-credentials?

  • What do you want to achieve?

  • What purposes do you want micro-credentials to serve?

The third section addresses the exploration [and preliminary policy questions] of micro-credentials in human capital systems and its major components: preparation, certification, induction, professional development, performance management, career pathways, and compensation…The fourth section focuses on exploring the capacity to plan and implement micro-credentials. It includes questions to consider in the following topics: Micro-credential platform, storage, and infrastructure; the design, quality, submission, and evaluation of micro-credentials; the awarding and recognition of micro-credentials; and the costs and funding sources/resources. The fifth section addresses the preliminary activities and considerations for the installation of micro-credentials. The primary activities include: establishing a leadership implementation team, developing a communications plan, developing the infrastructure and data systems needed, developing an orientation/training and coaching plan, and developing a written implementation plan.

The framework also includes a glossary of terms, a review of micro-credential platform vendors, and an annotated bibliography of references forming the basis for the framework.

SC3 believes the framework will be a useful tool for SEA and LEA leaders of professional learning and micro-credential projects.

The contents of this website were developed under a grant from the U.S. Department of Education and are intended for general reference purposes only. However, those contents do not necessarily represent the policy of the U.S. Department of Education or the Center, and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal Government. Some resources on this site require Adobe Acrobat Reader. This website archive includes content and external links that were accurate and relevant as of September 30, 2019.