Micro-credentials seen key to lifelong learning


EDUCATIONAL institutions and technology partners need to look into “micro-credential” programs to encourage lifelong learning, global edtech firm Instructure said.

In a 2023 report on the global state of student success and engagement, Instructure found that Filipino respondents are increasingly taking a skills-based approach to gaining credentials, citing the desire to expand their areas of expertise (77%), advance their careers (68%), take advantage of flexible programs (59%), and be ready for new opportunities (56%).

It noted that respondents are considering certificates (43%) and apprenticeships (39%) as a means of equipping themselves for their planned profession.

“Students today recognize that the modern workforce requires a diverse and rapidly adaptable skill set,” Harrison Kelly, Asia-Pacific managing director at Instructure, said in a virtual briefing on Thursday.

“As a result, they are opting for more flexible, skills-focused learning avenues that offer quicker routes to employment and a broader range of career opportunities,” he added.

“Institutions will have to look at a fixed yet agile way to draw on these ever-evolving demands,” he added, noting that the current job market stresses skills-based hiring over traditional degree-based qualifications.

Ryan Lufkin, vice-president for global strategy at Instructure, noted that edtech systems can serve as demonstrable proof of workplace skills.

“Even degree programs are breaking down into component skills,” he said. This can help showcase attractive qualities to employers even for candidates that have not earned degrees.

Mr. Lufkin also noted the role of artificial intelligence (AI) in fueling productivity, creativity, and critical thinking among learner.

The report indicated that 46% of Filipino students attend institutions have introduced rules governing generative AI use, while 28% said their institutions’ guidelines were strict.

It found that generative AI tools helped students with creating class content (62%), research and writing (56%), and personalize their learning (53%). AI chatbot ChatGPT was described as helpful in research and writing (83%), test preparation (52%), and learning foreign languages (47%).

“We need to be providing tutorials and guidelines on educator expectations,” Mr. Lufkin said.

“Institutions should be saying how these tools work to understand when and how they are being misused.”

“We shouldn’t be creating a tiered system, a digital divide with AI. We need an equitable approach,” he added, noting the paid releases of ChatGPT having access to significantly more datasets than the free version.

Instructure’s 2023 State of Student Success and Engagement in Higher Education report is on its  its fourth year, covering 17 countries, including 571 students, administrators, and faculty from the Philippines. — Miguel Hanz  L. Antivola