There are many wonderful things that can happen to you when you enrol in a higher education credential – you can learn new things, see the world through different eyes, meet new people, think new thoughts. All of these benefits are to be prized.
This paper contends, backed by the literature, that those wonderful benefits are usually not at the front of mind for those who enrol in a credential and commit to a (sometimes massive) financial and temporal investment. Rather, the prime motivator to acquire a credential is employment.
As COVID-19 takes its toll we can expect to see increased interest in all types of credentials – formal qualifications, as well as shorter form micro-credentials, certificates and badges.
But whether traditional higher educators will be the credentials providers of choice depends on three key ideas...
The way work is done has changed, and probably forever - Preparing graduates for the 9 to 5 working world in the city centre office will not be the same for some disciplines … and other disciplines will need to understand work that requires social proximity - educating children or nursing the elderly for example – will flourish in the new normal.
The whole notion of employability - Governments focus on it and measure based on percentage of graduates employed. But employment and employability, though deeply related, are not the same thing. In a disrupted labour market, the person who was highly employable yesterday may struggle to find work tomorrow.
Credentials are the core business of education providers - We know there is a rising appetite for shorter form credentials that work alone, or alongside or as pathways to formal qualifications.
Download this Credential Evidence Whitepaper to learn what providers can use to critically rethink their credentials through the lens of employability for the new world of work.
Emeritus Professor Beverley Oliver is a Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and an Australian National Teaching Fellow based in Melbourne, Australia. She is a non-executive director at Open Learning, an ASX-listed company; non-executive director at the International Council on Badges and Credentials; and non-executive director at EduGrowth, Australia’s not-for-profit acceleration network for high-growth, scalable, borderless education. Beverley was formerly Deputy Vice-Chancellor Education at Deakin University (2013-18) and she is the founder and editor of the Journal of Teaching and Learning for Graduate Employability. Beverley's leadership has been recognised through two national Citations for Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning, and several nationally-funded educational research grants and fellowships. In 2017, she was awarded Deakin University’s highest honour, the title of Alfred Deakin Professor, for her outstanding and sustained contribution to conceptualising the strategic enhancement of courses in the digital economy and furthering Deakin University’s research and scholarship in the field of higher education. Beverley now works as a higher education consultant at EduBrief, and she continues to speak and research focussing on digital education, micro-credentials, curriculum transformation, quality assurance and graduate employability.