MicroCreds is an ambitious 5-year, €12.3 million project (2020-2025) led by the IUA in partnership with seven IUA universities: Dublin City University, Trinity College Dublin, Maynooth University, NUI Galway, University College Cork, University College Dublin and University of Limerick. The project funding was awarded following a competitive process under the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science’s (DFHERIS) Human Capital Initiative Pillar 3 Innovation and Agility, with funding drawn from the National Training Fund.
A micro-credential is a proof of the learning outcomes that a learner has acquired following a short learning experience. Learners may choose to undertake a micro-credential as a standalone award or stack their learning towards a larger award. We will be the first European country to establish a coherent National Framework for quality assured and accredited micro-credentials.
IUA project partner universities are collaborating to develop, pilot and evaluate the building blocks required for a transformation in lifelong and life-wide learning through micro-credentials. Micro-credentials developed at partner universities will set the standard for excellence in flexible and agile learning.
We are working in partnership with learners and our Enterprise Advisory Group, comprising senior enterprise members from business representative organisations, enterprise agencies, private sector companies and state bodies with responsibility for skills in order to change thinking about and engagement structures with university learning. We are focusing on learners who are seeking to upskill or re-skill, return to employment or change careers.
MicroCreds has 4 key deliverable strands:
Strand 1: Development of a National Framework for micro-credentials.
Strand 2: Creation of a dynamic and sustainable model of Enterprise Engagement for micro-credentials.
Strand 3: Design and development of a digital Discovery Platform for accredited micro-credentials, linked to a digital credentialing solution. The on-line portal will drive awareness of, and support learner access to micro-credentials and stacked micro-credential pathways.
Strand 4: Agilely developed and flexibly-delivered suite of micro-credentials across the partner universities.
Micro-credentials have the potential to reimagine and reframe the relationship between learners, universities, enterprise and civil society partners, generating a step change in lifelong and life-wide learning. Our aim is for micro-credentials to address many of the barriers to participation in lifelong learning, including time constraints for learners and inflexibility in current programme provision and delivery. The inherent flexibility in micro-credentials means that learners can access learning in discrete, small units, at a time and pace which allows greater balance with both life and work commitments.
A fully developed framework for micro-credentials can provide learners with agile pathways from stand-alone awards to larger credentials, allowing learning to align with and adjust to changes in learner priorities over time. It is our ambition that the MicroCreds project will leave a legacy framework and infrastructure for micro-credentials supporting engagement with wider cohorts of learners such as undergraduate students, learning for personal interest and those accessing higher education for the first time.
In summary, micro-credentials can improve accessibility to life-long learning, enhance professional identity and self-efficacy, through learning that is closely linked to professional work practices and enables an agile response to labour market needs and technological, economic and social change.
Read the recent IUA submission to the European Commission Consultation on Micro-credentials – broadening learning opportunities for lifelong learning and employability.
If you would like to learn more about MicroCreds, please contact the team at the IUA or the designated Project Lead in each of our IUA project partner universities.