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Accreditation

New credentialing systems should be based on the recognition that learning involves much more than merely the acquisition of course-specific content.

Traditionally, colleges and universities have been the recognized authorities certifying knowledge acquisition. Today more and more learning is taking place outside the classroom – formally or informally online, in corporate training programs and the workplace, and extension education programs.

Source: Joanna Normoyle, “UC Davis Badges,” Presentation at World Academy Forum on Global Higher Education

With workers changing jobs more frequently and having to continuously learn new skill sets, a college degree is increasingly inadequate as a means of certifying individual competencies. Innovative methods to convert online learning experience into marketable credit are under development. Social networking sites allow users to add digital certificates, instructor and employer testimonials to their online profiles. Tools allow students to create electronic portfolios of their online learning experience. Self-education is vying for legitimate means of accreditation comparable to that issued by recognized institutions. New credentialing systems should be based on the recognition that learning involves much more than merely the acquisition of course-specific content. Measures need to be refined to access acquisition of a much wider range of competencies than merely text and lecture-based knowledge.

  • The power of accreditation presently resides where it always has in traditional brick and mortar institutions.
  • New educational models such as Degree.com are facilitating the shift from degree-based to skill-based learning models.
  • Initiatives like Accredible.com envision a decoupling of the educational and certification processes.
  • At UC Davis, a system of badges is being used to incentivize new types of experiential learning, competence, knowledge and values1.
  • Standardization and internationalization of credentialing would significantly facilitate global educational exchange.
  • Accreditation is essential for the rapid adoption of online forms of education and is one of the greatest challenges faced by the plethora of emerging MOOC platforms.
  • Online universities such as University of the People, World Education University and the Minerva Project are applying for accreditation by traditional authorities.
  • MOOC providers offer certificates of completion to students who pay an additional fee.
  • The American Council on Education has evaluated some MOOC courses and recommended that they be awarded transfer credits.
  • Professional degree holders and those with less than high school completion earn significantly more with an alternative credential.
  • The median monthly earnings for someone with a professional certification or license is $4,167 compared $3,110 for someone without any alternative credential.
1 Joanna Normoyle, “UC Davis Badges,” Presentation at World Academy Forum on Global Higher Education http://www.worldacademy.org/files/UCB/UCD_Badges_J.Normoyle.pdf