Micro-credentials, also known as badges and nanodegrees, allow for specific skills or components of learning to be recognised.
The Udacity nanodegree is one of three micro-credential pilot programmes to be launched by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) in response to the Productivity Commission’s tertiary education report. Alongside the Udacity Nanodegree, NZQA is also working with Otago Polytechnic and the Young Enterprise Scheme.
Otago Polytechnic, which has significant experience in the assessment and recognition of prior learning, launched their micro-credential service, EduBits last week.
The final pilot enables high school students to be issued with a joint Young Enterprise Scheme (YES) and NZQA micro-credential.
The three pilots will be evaluated by NZQA within six months with a view of considering how best to support the further development of a micro credentials system in New Zealand.
Micro-credentials are not units of learning toward a full qualification, but are a recognition of specific skills, experience and knowledge. They include short courses delivered online, in the workplace or at training institutions. They can be at any level of a qualifications framework and would typically be between five and 60 credits.
Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment Minister Paul Goldsmith says it is fitting that the first micro-credential to be launched in New Zealand should be in the future focused area of autonomous cars. Our tertiary system should be as innovative as the wider economy, he says.
“New Zealand’s qualification system will need to adapt if we are to meet our evolving skills needs, and micro-credentials are one way we can begin to do that,” says Goldsmith.
“Learners and employers will always value formal qualifications, but as workers need specific new skills across their lifetime, a micro-credential may be an excellent option for learners to upskill without completing a full formal qualification.”
More information on the three pilots can be found HERE.