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Micro-credentials and the role of evidence: increasing the potential for learner-centeredness, inclusivity and an expansive model of assessment and credentialing

Anne Reed (University at Buffalo, Buffalo, New York, USA)

International Journal of Information and Learning Technology

ISSN: 2056-4880

Article publication date: 21 March 2023

Issue publication date: 24 October 2023

333

Abstract

Purpose

This paper examines the innovative potential of micro-credentials which, arguably, is compromised if not for a particular attribute of the digital format: evidence. Evidence allows for an artifact of learning (e.g. project, writing sample) to be included in a digital micro-credential. Micro-credentials that include evidence can support individualized learning; elucidate learners' qualifications; and make assessment and credentialing processes more inclusive.

Design/methodology/approach

This conceptual paper explores the subject of higher education micro-credentials which are increasingly being offered as formal (albeit smaller and digital), credit-bearing credentials, far removed from the Open Digital Badge movement from which they originated. This paper presents a case for safeguarding the qualities of micro-credentials that allow for innovative practice, before micro-credentials become entirely subsumed into conventional assessment and credentialing practices.

Findings

A review of the literature indicates that evidence, when used effectively, can support the innovative potential of micro-credentials. This subject is examined from the perspective of three categories of evidence, which are identified and illustrated through specific examples from the literature.

Originality/value

This paper fulfills a need to address the features of micro-credentials that, if used effectively, can challenge traditional assessment and credentialing paradigms. Evidence is rarely discussed in the literature and has not been thoroughly examined from this perspective. Additionally, faculty who develop and implement micro-credentials face numerous challenges when attempting to include evidence in micro-credentials. This paper explores those challenges and offers several recommendations for practice.

Keywords

Citation

Reed, A. (2023), "Micro-credentials and the role of evidence: increasing the potential for learner-centeredness, inclusivity and an expansive model of assessment and credentialing", International Journal of Information and Learning Technology, Vol. 40 No. 5, pp. 401-412. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJILT-12-2022-0228

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2023, Emerald Publishing Limited

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