In the world of training, the prefix “micro,” for “very small,” is all the rage. You may have heard of micro modules, micro-credentials or microdiplomas. Shorter generally means more flexible, more attractive, less time-consuming, more economical… So, concepts that put the “micro” in the spotlight are emerging to better respond to new realities, including the need for continuous learning. But in the midst of all this confusion, it can be hard to find your way around. Do you know exactly what microlearning is? Are you familiar with the concept of micro-credentials? Do badges ring a bell? Test your knowledge and find out by answering the following five questions.
1. True or false? Microlearning simply means breaking down an online training course into several short modules.
This answer is reductive. Microlearning is an elearning approach that breaks down knowledge into bite-sized chunks. It’s based on short, informative sessions – usually lasting from a few seconds to 15 minutes, but most often from 2 to 7 minutes – which focus on a specific topic and target a specific goal. A microlearning session can take various forms: short demonstrative videos, a multiple-choice quiz sent by text message, and a reminder of a notion sent by email. It’s a type of learning that gets straight to the point, relying on repetition and participation.
Microlearning can take the form of independent units or a series of interrelated units in terms of content or form, which may or may not be complementary to longer training courses. It is particularly suitable for providing a precise response to an immediate need of the learner, finding a solution to a given problem, updating certain knowledge, deepening an aspect, integrating a change, or even practicing a skill.
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2. Which of the following statements about microlearning is incorrect?
A) It is suitable for all types of learning.
B) For blended learning purposes, it combines well with face-to-face training, just as it can be integrated with various other solutions such as gamification, serious gaming or personalized learning.
C) Among its advantages, it can be particularly flexible, engaging and cost-effective.
D) Some disadvantages include limitations in terms of depth, interaction and evaluation.
Microlearning is not suitable for all learning. While it can deal with a wide range of subjects, it may not always be the optimal solution. This is particularly the case for highly complex courses or courses that are clearly better served by a single, longer learning unit.
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3. There is no comprehensive or universal definition for micro-credentials, but recently, significant progress has been made in achieving definitional consensus and conceptual convergence, both globally and in Canada. Which of the following criteria do stakeholders agree on when defining micro-credentials?
A) defined by a focus on specific skills and competencies.
B) awarded on the basis of assessment.
C) relevant to the employer or job.
D) flexible in their relationship to other forms of accreditation.
E) short accreditation courses.
All of the above.
Micro-credentials are short-term, targeted training and certification courses. There is no consensus on the optimal duration of a training course leading to such certification. There is, however, general agreement that it corresponds to shorter, more specialized learning units than a three-month course or three 36-hour credits. Micro-credentials are offered by different types of providers, both public and private, such as educational and vocational training organizations, companies, NGOs, industrial bodies, etc. However, they are beginning to carve out a place for themselves in the post-secondary education system, including universities. The growth and diversification of elearning, the new training needs of workers and employers that emerged during the pandemic, and the profound changes taking place in the job market are all factors that are accelerating the movement toward integrating micro-credentials into higher education.
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4. True or false? Micro-credentials and badges refer to the same concept; they are synonymous.
These concepts are often confused. Badges are simply emblems of acquired skills. As eCampusOntario’s Competency Microtitle Repository explains:
“The main difference is whether the credential is “transcriptable,” or not, meaning it can appear on a traditional college or university transcript. To elaborate :
- Micro-credentials are linked to a set of formally approved or accepted standards or competencies.
- Micro-credentials are formally taught by a teacher or mentor who is responsible for ensuring that the student learns and meets the expectations for the micro-credential.
- Micro-credentials can be accumulated to earn a credential recognized by other institutions.
Badges, on the other hand, can relate to any field and be awarded by anyone. The value lies in learning a particular skill or knowledge (Contact Nord, 2020). In short, the micro-credential is the curriculum, and the badge is a representation of successful learning.”
Any micro-credential should furthermore be recognized by some form of institutional certificate of completion or achievement or digital badge that specifies the learning outcomes achieved or skills acquired.
To find out more: Micro-credentials and Badges: Two Distinct Concepts
5. Select the correct term to complete the statements concerning the evaluation of micro-credentials.
Terms: work-related, ecosystem, key, authentic, community, reliable
A) It is one of the _____ elements of the micro-credential concept. It provides assurance that the holder has demonstrated that they have acquired the targeted skills and is ready to apply them on the job market.
B) It also makes it possible to distinguish micro-credentials from other achievements conveyed by badges that have not necessarily been assessed or evaluated according to _______ standards.
C) In the Canadian post-secondary system, there is a tendency for the assessment of a micro-credential to be “________” which means, among other things, that it should give learners the opportunity to demonstrate their skills in the context of __________ situations.
D) From a broader perspective, assessment is at the heart of the development of an “_________” of micro-credentials, a concept that seems apt since the development of skills micro-credentials relies on the close collaboration of accredited educational institutions with employers or industry sectors, learners and sometimes _____________ partners.
The complete, correct statements are as follows:
A) It is one of the key elements of the micro-credential concept. It provides assurance that the holder has demonstrated that they have acquired the targeted skills and is ready to apply them on the job market.
B) It also makes it possible to distinguish micro-credentials from other achievements conveyed by badges that have not necessarily been assessed or evaluated according to reliable.
C) In the Canadian post-secondary system, there is a tendency for the assessment of a micro-credential to be “authentic,” which means, among other things, that it should give learners the opportunity to demonstrate their skills in the context of work-related.
D) From a broader perspective, assessment is at the heart of the development of an “ecosystem” of micro-credentials, a concept that seems apt since the development of skills micro-credentials relies on the close collaboration of accredited educational institutions with employers or industry sectors, learners and sometimes community.
To find out more: Micro-credentials under the magnifying glass