The European MOOC Consortium (EMC) has launched a Common Microcredential Framework (CMF) to create portable credentials for lifelong learners.
At 2019’s EADTU-EU Summit, the EMC launched a Common Microcredential Framework with its founding platform partners including FutureLearn, France Université Numérique (FUN), OpenupEd, Miríadax, and EduOpen. Learner demand was for shorter, recognised and quality-assured courses that developed new knowledge, skills and competencies, and could also be used to earn traditional university qualifications. The CMF established a framework for these goals to be achieved across Europe’s leading MOOC platforms and the universities within their networks. The ambition was to lay the foundations for a new international credential for universities to meet the needs of lifelong learners, globally.
To qualify as a microcredential within the CMF, a course must:
- have a total study time of 100–150 hours, including revision for, and completion of, the summative assessment
- equate to 10–15 UK credits, 4–6 ECTS, or 2–3 US credits
- be levelled at:
- Levels 6–7 in the European Qualification Framework
- or the equivalent levels in the university’s national qualification framework
- or Levels 4–5 and fulfil the criteria of the European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS)
- count towards at least one degree programme (for example: MSc Project Management, MSc Business Analytics)
- award academic credit, either directly after it’s successfully completed or via recognition of prior learning after the student enrols on a university’s course of study
- run a reliable method of ID verification at the point of assessment that keeps to the university’s policies and/or is widely adopted across the platforms authorised to use the CMF
- give a transcript that sets out the:
- learning outcomes for a microcredential
- total study hours required
- European Qualifications Framework (EQF) level
- number of credit points earned.
It’s expected that these microcredentials will:
- be part-time, requiring 10–15 hours’ study per week, and designed to fit alongside work and other commitments
- run at least twice per year, in order to maximise availability for professional learners and make a return on investment
- have a clearly considered business plan, including size of audience, relevant skills gaps and return on investment
- have a defined professional target audience in mind
- have employer, industry, or professional body endorsement.*
* Endorsement could come from existing partnerships between a university and an employer, or be supported by FutureLearn.
These microcredential courses will aim to be recognisable between different higher education institutions (HEIs), so that learners can study them within a network of universities and use them towards a larger qualification, such as a postgraduate certificate or Masters degree.
What are the benefits of a Common Microcredential Framework?
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.
As a result, it:
- creates the basis for consistent microcredentials across Europe
- supports the concept of stacking microcredentials between jurisdictions and platforms
- establishes a basis for something more significant in the future, if this is the direction the consortium and other agencies want it to move in.
Who are the European MOOC Consortium (EMC)?
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 HEIs and companies working in a variety of European languages, including English, French, Spanish and Italian.
The creation of the EMC has created the power and volume for a serious European MOOC movement.
Who are EADTU?
EADTU stands for the European Association of Distance Teaching Universities. They are a group representing 11 open universities and over 200 European universities committed to flexible distance learning.