Otago Polytechnic signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Lance O’Sullivan’s Navilluso Medical Ltd this week, formalising a new education initiative between the two organisations.

O’Sullivan, who was Kiwibank New Zealander of the Year in 2014, developed iMOKO, an app that enables teachers at participating kohanga, day-care centres and schools to securely send health information about students to a digital health team working from a “cloud” system based in Auckland. They promptly respond with a diagnosis and, importantly, a treatment plan.

Yet in order to achieve the iMOKO vision, O’Sullivan needed a tailored learning and credentialing solution for the people involved at the coalface of children’s health.

Otago Polytechnic’s micro-credentialing initiative EduBits was the answer. EduBits validate the healthcare staff’s capabilities, developed through experience, ensuring iMOKO’s workforce has the necessary skills and knowledge.

EduBits are suited to new and emerging skills and knowledge areas, such as O’Sullivan’s digital health programme. They can also be tailor-made to satisfy organisation-specific requirements.

In the case of iMOKO, this entails an ongoing training programme for new digital health aides throughout New Zealand.

O’Sullivan says his company is excited to be partnering with Otago Polytechnic around the micro-credentialing of a new wave of health workers.

“This will allow sustainable models of quality healthcare to be developed and spread,” he says. “There is a potential undiscovered workforce out there. This method of qualifying enables people to pivot from what they are doing today to what they could be doing, say, next month.”

Otago Polytechnic chief executive Phil Ker says the relationship is proof of how micro-credentials can make an excellent contribution to education in New Zealand.

“This relationship with Lance and his organisation is just one example of how we can respond very quickly to training requirements – and we have done so.

Ker says another example can be found in Electric Vehicle training. Otago Polytechnic has created a series of Electric Vehicle (EV) short courses and micro-credentials under its EduBits brand aimed at meeting a growing demand for EV knowledge and validation in New Zealand.

At the end of each short course, learners are assessed and awarded Otago Polytechnic’s EduBits, which validate what they know and can do.

“There is strong demand among those working in the automotive industry to increase their skills and knowledge base of EV technology, and to have that capability recognised by industry-endorsed micro-credentials,” says Ker.

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