MICROBOL recommendations to the EU public consultation on micro-credentials

MICROBOL has published its Recommendations for the European Commission’s consultation on “Micro-credentials – broadening learning opportunities for lifelong learning and employability”.

In this document, the MICROBOL project aims to provide a comprehensive overview of the main observations, challenges and solutions in relation to micro-credentials based on the outputs of the three MICROBOL Working Groups on Quality Assurance, Recognition and Qualifications Framework & ECTS. They provide recommendations to overcome challenges, highlighting the way forward for micro-credentials in general and giving a contribution to the consultation in the view of a EU Council Recommendation on micro-credentials.

The document not only provides specific recommendations to the three Bologna key commitments, but also gives recommendations on transversal topics, including the role of higher education in lifelong learning, a common standard for micro-credentials and digitalisation.

Goodbye from MicroHE

In November 2020, at the end of an unforgettable year of challenges and hardships, but also a year of remarkable demonstrations of resilience and people’s and organisations’ adaptation to extreme changes in the environment where we live and work, MicroHE has reached its contractual end. During the 36 months of our project’s implementation we have seen a lot of progress and promising initiatives in the area of micro-credentialisation – in higher education and beyond. This includes the launch of the European Skills Agenda, with its first implemented action, the new Europass platform, that is the most impactful uptaker of the MicroHE meta-data standard (as it is noted here). Another action of the European Skills Agenda, the European approach to micro-credentials, that will help to open up learning opportunities to citizens and strengthen the role of higher education and vocational education and training institutions in lifelong learning, is another high-level initiative that we helped shape by participating in expert consultations. We couldn’t be more proud of the influencing role our project played on European level.

Overall, while the MicroHE legacy lives on in other related projects that MicroHE partners continue working on, our official work has been completed. We would like to express our gratitude to all who have contributed to our success and share the list of our public deliverables to anyone who wishes to consult them. The microcredentials.eu website has now been taken over fully by the MICROBOL project, but you can still reach us by filling in this contact form.

MicroHE Users Guide

While most Higher Education practitioners are familiar with the Diploma Supplement that was designed as an aid to support the recognition of degree-level qualifications, until recently nothing similar existed for sub-degree qualifications, especially ones of those in the region of 5 ECTS. MicroHE has set out to fill this gap and produced a so-called Credit / Module Supplement, but, more importantly, also published a Users’ Guide to provide guidance to HE Institutions on how to use the credit/module supplement in combination with other European and national recognition and portability instruments to facilitate:

  • the award of micro-credentials,
  • academic recognition & portability of micro-credentials,
  • recognition of micro-credentials by employers and
  • accreditation of micro-credentials.

Micro-credentials Survey Report available

In 2020, a survey was created to determine the state of play of micro-credentials in the European Higher Eucation Area (EHEA). Members of the BFUG as well as the nominated representatives in the MICROBOL working groups were invited to submit their answers, and 35 countries responded with great success. This report presents the results of the survey, enriched by the input of the three MICROBOL working group meetings held in January 2021, and showcases the decisive points that the development and acceptance of micro-credentials in the framework of the Bologna Key Commitments entail.

The report of the survey can be viewed here.

MICROBOL survey launched

MICROBOL Kick-off conference report available

The Microbol kick-off report of the webinar and working groups has been made available on the Microbol Outputs page. The report summarizes the contributions of the wide variety of speakers during the webinar on 31 August 2020, as well as highlighting the challenges that have been identified during the working groups on 1 September 2020. The outcomes of the conference will be integrated into the proposed common European framework for micro-credentials.

MICROBOL Desk Research Report

The MICROBOL Desk Research Report on micro-credentials is now available. This report is part of the MICROBOL project and examines the current status of micro-credentials, which have attracted interest in recent times as a means to increase the effectiveness and flexibility of higher education and to provide upskilling and reskilling opportunities for the labour force. The report was compiled by EUA and serves as a starting point to further investigate how micro-credentials can be linked to the Bologna Key Commitments.

DHBW ‘Fachtag’

On February 7, the DHBW Heilbronn hosted the internal symposium under the motto “Digital Transformation”. More than 100 professors and lecturers from the different DHBW campuses could be welcomed at the location who want to network on topics from research and teaching.

Our project partner Florian Rampelt from the Stifterverband, among others, drew a wide arc between the past and the future about digitisation before the visitors set to work themselves in workshops.

Two workshops were held about our projects OEPass and MicroHE: The first workshop on our Learning Passport, which is currently being developed as part of the project, was followed with great interest by 12 participants. Jochen and Raimund from the DHBW and Florian from Stifterverband provided an overview about the OEPass project and gave participants the opportunity to ask questions about the documentation and recognition of micro-credentials via the Learning Passport.

The second workshop focused on micro-credentials within our project MicroHE. The central question of this workshop was to what extent it would be possible to establish small-scale educational qualifications within the structures of the DHBW within the next few years. 26 participants took part in this inspiring discussion.

We would like to thank all participants for their great interest in our projects.

4th MicroHE Consortium meeting in Germany

On the afternoon of 6 February 2019, we concluded an intensive, and highly productive, 2.5-day joint OEPass–MicroHE meeting in Heilbronn, Germany. Our host, DHBW, showed great initiative by proposing an innovative agenda and the unconventional meeting structure proved to be very beneficial.

Just like last time, on the afternoon of our arrival we had an expert meeting to kick off the work. This time our guest was Darco Jansen from EADTU. Darco is the coordinator of the European Short Learning Programmes (e-SLP) project, another Erasmus+ funded project, the partners of which have already conducted surveys about short learning programmes. Their results have great relevance to both projects, particularly MicroHE, that is also foreseeing to undertake surveys and interviews to analyse the current and short-term scope of micro-credential provision and to identify barriers to their accreditation and recognition in Europe. After an exchange of introductions of project goals, plans and our findings so far, we agreed that – in order to maximise the value of our combined efforts and to avoid reinventing the wheel – the MicroHE survey will learn from and build upon the e-SLP findings and also feed back the lessons learned from our own surveys and interviews to e-SLP.

On the first official meeting day, instead of sitting through a series of presentations, we were given time and space to discuss and fine-tune our project outputs in practical workshops. We still have some “homework” to do before we can pronounce the tackled outputs finalised, but we made greater progress during these few hours than for weeks beforehand. Especially since we all had different angles of approaching the same results, the constructive group work could bring all the partners to the same comprehensive understanding of the (multiple) purposes and functionalities of the outputs we are working on.

Both partnerships were invited to each other’s meetings, and although not everybody could stay for all 3 days, Tuesday evening we had both OEPass and MicroHE representatives at DHBW’s premises to participate in the most entertaining part of the programme, the team building cooking activity. We had a truly international menu of 10+ dishes, including simple but amazingly delicious Lithuanian garlic bread, Indian curry, Finish casserole (with a Greek twist), Italian gnocchi made from scratch, German apple strudel and a heavenly Hungarian dessert.

Cross posted from the OEPass website