In 2020 FutureLearn will be offering a portfolio of accredited microcredentials, endorsed by employers, that enable learners to demonstrate sought-after skills by learning with others.
Microcredentials are created by or in collaboration with leading universities and endorsed by employers to support upskilling, reskilling and lifelong learning, without the time and cost commitment of a full degree. Microcredentials are equivalent in length to one module of a degree programme (10-15 weeks’ study, 100-150 hours’ study commitment); they are aimed at a professional audience; and are recognised for credit.
Every microcredential must adhere to the new Common Microcredential Framework, the criteria are as follows:
- There should be a defined professional target audience in mind. The business plan, including size of audience, relevant skills gaps and return on investment should be clearly considered from the outset.
- Each microcredential will need employer, industry, or professional body endorsement. This could come from existing partnerships between a university and an employer, or the endorsement could be supported by FutureLearn.
- We are looking for microcredentials of 100-150 hours’ study, equating to 10-15 UK credits, 4-6 ECTS, or 2-3 US credits. The expectation is that they will be part-time, requiring 10-15 hours’ study per week, and designed to fit alongside work and other commitments.
- Microcredentials must be recognised for credit either directly or as prior learning, and as such they must have rigorous assessment.
- Every microcredential should count towards at least one degree programme (MSc Project Management, MSc Business Analytics, for example).
- Each microcredential should run at least twice per year, in order to maximise availability for professional learners and make a return on investment.
Our microcredentials portfolio will focus on building skills in key business areas and fast-growing fields. We are therefore targeting strategic subject areas based on ongoing market research, to answer market demand. This research is reliant on a number of criteria, including identifying skills gaps, disposable income within different professional groups, partner brand recognition and employer brand recognition. We use employment, education and learner data to develop and share an up-to-date in-depth view with partners at events such as partner forum and as part of individual relationship management. If you’d like more detail on the topic areas we are seeking microcredentials in, and the job roles we are targeting, please contact your partnership manager.
There is potential for offering multiple microcredentials in the same topic, for example by providing a strong brand in the UK, a strong brand in Australia and a strong brand in the US. Our market research has identified the above broad topic areas in high demand, and we are therefore likely to receive multiple proposals in each area. We will review each proposal and work with partners to differentiate their microcredential. We are also open to proposals in other areas, subject to evidence of demand.
The approval process for microcredentials involves selecting microcredentials that both meet the new Common Microcredential Framework, and that are assessed as having real market potential. This is to ensure each and every microcredential on FutureLearn provides as much value for the learner as it should for the university. As such, we will be looking at each proposal on a case by case basis, to ensure that both partners and learners get the most out of these products, which require higher upfront investment to build, purchase and run.
We would like to invite partners to submit proposals for microcredentials. Before submitting a proposal, please contact your Partnership Manager to discuss your ideas, with consideration for the criteria outlined above.
Submitting a proposal
Partners wishing to run a microcredential on FutureLearn are required to complete a detailed proposal, which will be assessed by FutureLearn. Please contact your Partnership Manager for the proposal form.
FutureLearn will review proposals on a rolling basis, and aim to respond to partners within two weeks of receipt. We will feedback on whether the proposal has been accepted, rejected, and whether any additional changes or insights are needed.
Initial information required includes proposed title, pricing, start dates, endorsement and/or accreditation. Every Microcredential must adhere to the Common Microcredential Framework.