- E-credentials are to higher ed what e-commerce is to retail, at least according to Indiana University at Bloomington Professor Daniel Hickey, and leaders who ignore the importance of this trend will see their institutions struggling to find a place in the higher education landscape.
- Hickey writes for the Chronicle of Higher Education that because they can show competencies and drill down on learning — thanks to badges, e-portfolios and extended transcripts — e-credentials provide employers with a more detailed glimpse of graduates' abilities, making them more practical than traditional grades and transcripts.
- With Open Badges standards, the issuing and regulation of e-credentials is becoming even easier, and issuers are able to leave specific feedback that might offer even more insight.
Microcredentialing and badging were named 2016's disruption of the year because of the ability to quickly showcase what students were learning and what they could do as a result of their time in college. As higher ed leaders continue to look for ways to assert the value of higher education, e-credentials are one way to articulate exactly what students are getting out of their experience.
Institutions that offer them will begin to see a competitive advantage over those that do not, but it is important to find ways to ensure issuing microcredentials doesn't fly in the face of encouraging students to persist to graduation. If a student can demonstrate after two years that s/he has mastered certain competencies needed for a particular career, there may be a disincentive to continue. Constant review of curricula to ensure continued relevance and a focus on clear pathways consisting of stackable credentials leading up to degree will help promote the value of the end goal.