ECCOE’s digital micro-credentials

Imagine how tremendously valuable and transformational study exchange can be for university students. Usually they are exposed to a new language, a new culture, and often they might enrol in interesting classes not offered by their university at home. In other words, they can learn a lot more than they get (ECTS) credit for. Shouldn’t, in an ideal world, these students have a chance to get their newly acquired knowledge and skills recognised by their home institution? On the other hand we can understand how much of an administrative burden this may place on institutions who would have to make sure that the formal home credits are substantiated.

Transparency of skills and competences enhance learning- and labour mobility across Europe, and to enable this transparency the use of standardised credential validation mechanisms and tools are essential. However, when we are dealing with credential recognition – especially on an expanded EU level -, we cannot dismiss the differences between institutional standards and practices, national standards, accreditation systems, the structures of national curricula and course delivery, or even learning assessment practices.

The European Commission addressed this challenge when they developed the European Learning Model and the European Digital Credentials for Learning (EDC) that are multilingual digital statements (e.g. diplomas, transcripts of records and a wide variety of other types of certificates of formal and non-formal learning achievement) issued by an organisation to learners, documenting their learning. They are portable digital documents that use open standards and that are fully aligned with familiar EU frameworks and instruments such as the European Qualifications Framework for Lifelong Learning (EQF), the European Classification of Skills, Competences, Qualifications and Occupations (ESCO) and more.

ECCOE built on the EDC foundations and devised a credential template that is customised to the needs and requirements of the Higher Education sector to support better credential portability between Higher Education Institutions (HEIs).

This consultation aims to gather feedback on our proposed credential data structure as well as a number of additional controlled vocabularies that we believe can enhance the quality and transparency of digital micro-credentials.

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