In 2018, eight European Institutions joined forces to solve the problem of micro-credentials in the European Education Area. They designed the European project MicroHE which provides a solution that is intended to overcome the credentialing barriers in formal and non-formal and open HEI and to create a clearinghouse to facilitate recognition, transfer and portability of micro-credentials in Europe, capable of a trusted triage between administrators, participants and institutions.
The solution needed to deal with huge volumes of students and universities credentialing data, a big variety of modules and qualifications, and deliver results in a reasonable time. Special attention was paid to defining the term micro-credential and proposing it as a ‘credit supplement’ to give detailed information about micro-credentials in a way compatible with ECTS and support of European education white papers.
Launched on February 1st, 2018, by a consortium made up of three European universities, Duale Hochschule Baden-Württemberg (DHBW), Vytauto Didziojo Universitetas (VMU), Tampere University (TAU), two research institutes, Fondazione Politecnico di Milano (FP), Institut Jozef Stefan (JSI), two industrial partners, Knowledge Innovation Centre (KIC) and European Distance and E-Learning Network (EDEN), and a not-for-profit, Knowledge 4 All Foundation Ltd (K4A), it will run until January 31st, 2020.
European Recognition Conventions: We are extending the principles of Erasmus+ agreements to overarching credit systems by allowing efficient recognition of credits gained abroad via effective quality assurance and improvement of the recognition and transfer of learning between different educational organizations as well as the world of work. We have identified current barriers to micro-credential accreditation and recognition, proposed the idea of a ‘module supplement’, modelled on both the diploma supplement and the credit-outline for a single ECTS, as a transparency instrument for micro-credentials, and discuss this idea widely with stakeholders and reached consensus amongst European stakeholders and policymakers on a way forward for micro-credential recognition.
European Qualifications Frameworks: We are extending the ways to capture granular descriptions of 2-60 ECTS. By ensuring that micro-credentials are certified and mapped to qualifications frameworks, Credentify will also ensure that clear progression pathways are developed from this form of education into other forms of Higher Education. Credentify has examined the adequacy of European recognition instruments for micro-credentials in particular in a way compatible with ECTS, the diploma supplement and qualification frameworks.
European Diploma Supplements: We have created credit supplements to replace diploma supplements and proposed a standardized ‘credit supplement’ modelled on the European Diploma supplement, which can be used to document learning achievement for sub-degree qualifications. Credentify has developed an ECTS-supplement that can be used to create a far more comprehensive version of the diploma supplement in the future.
European Credit Systems: We created a meta-data standard for micro-credentials. The European Qualification Framework (EQF) enables learners, learning providers and employers to compare qualifications between different national systems. The meta-data is therefore an attempt to create a new or additional EQF schema within the EQF pillar in ESCO that proposes a set of standard meta-data for documenting micro-credentials, and specifically on how to record, store and transfer them via computer systems. Credentify therefore allows interoperability between these systems.