The European MOOC Consortium (EMC) launches a Common Microcredential Framework (CMF) to create portable credentials for lifelong learners
At the EADTU-EU Summit 2019, Brussels, the EMC launched a Common Microcredential Framework (CMF) with its founding platform partners including FutureLearn, France Université Numérique (FUN), OpenupEd, Miríadax, and EduOpen. The move comes in response to demand from learners to develop new knowledge, skills and competencies from shorter, recognised and quality-assured courses, which can also be used to earn traditional university qualifications. The CMF establishes a framework for these goals to be achieved across Europe’s leading MOOC platforms and the universities within their networks. The ambition is to lay the foundations for a new international credential for universities to meet the needs of lifelong learners, globally.
To ensure microcredential courses are built to high quality standards, the CMF requires that microcredential courses are capable of earning academic credit. This requirement ensures courses must be developed within the university’s national qualification framework and, in Europe, in line with the European Qualification Framework (EQF), a common European reference framework whose purpose is to make qualifications more readable and understandable across different countries and systems.
In order to qualify as a microcredential within this framework, a course must adhere to the following specifications:
The definition is:
- Have a total study time of no less than 100 hours and no more than 150 hours, including revision for, and completion of, the summative assessment.
- Be levelled at Levels 6-7 in the European Qualification Framework or the equivalent levels in the university’s national qualification framework, or be levelled at Levels 4-5 and fulfil the criteria of the European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System.
- Provide a summative assessment that enables the award of academic credit, either directly following successful completion of a microcredential or via recognition of prior learning upon enrolment as a student on a university’s course of study.
- Operate a reliable method of ID verification at the point of assessment that complies with the university’s policies and/or is widely adopted across the platforms authorised to use the CMF.
- Provide a transcript that sets out the learning outcomes for a microcredential, total study hours required, EQF level and number of credit points earned.
These microcredential courses will aim to be recognisable between different higher education institutions and thereby create an ecosystem where learners can one day take microcredentials from within a network of universities that can be used towards a larger qualification, such as a postgraduate certificate or Masters degree.
The European MOOC Consortium (EMC) consists of the main European MOOC platforms Futurelearn, FUN, MiriadaX, EduOpen and OpenupEd. These partners represent most of the MOOC development work in Europe in terms of learners and number of MOOCs, by offering together over 2000 MOOCs. Together, they represent a large network of 250 higher education institutions (HEIs) and companies working in a variety of European languages, including English, French, Spanish and Italian. The creation of the European MOOC Consortium (EMC) accelerates the collaboration between the major European MOOC players and creates the power and the volume for a serious European MOOC movement.
Today at the EADTU-EU Summit in Brussels we have announced the launch of a ‘Common Microcredential Framework’ alongside the three largest European MOOC platforms – FUN (France), MiriadaX (Spain), EduOpen (Italy) – supported by the European Association of Distance Teaching Universities (EADTU is a group representing 11 Open Universities and over 200 European universities committed to flexible distance learning)
It is a voluntary collaboration of European MOOC platforms, who have agreed to use a common definition of a microcredential and seek to enforce this on their platforms. It is not a brand name for our microcredential and it is not a shared name for a new qualification. The platforms are each free to create their own brand name. But it does create the basis for consistent microcredentials across Europe, supports the concept of stacking microcredentials between jurisdictions and platforms, and establishes a basis for something more significant in the future, if this is the direction the consortium and other agencies want it to move.