Many have written about the potential micro-credentials represent for changing professional development as a process. Moving beyond passive sit-and-listen experiences, micro-credentials create active learning experiences as educators apply their learning to their classroom. We know that each educator has specific learning goals and each classroom is different and micro-credentials support this by offering a means for deeper personalization within the professional learning experience. However, we should consider the consequences of the competencies themselves for personalizing learning.
Every micro-credential starts with a specific, defined goal or competency the educator is working to achieve. These competencies define what the teacher will do and, ultimately, how the students will learn. When competencies are focused on specific classroom strategies, they typically focus either on (A) a whole-class strategy or (B) a strategy for individual students, allowing the educator to decide what is most needed for their professional learning.
Consider this example:
Competency A: Use formative assessment to gauge student learning in your class and determine whether or not to move on.
Competency B: Use formative assessment to identify individual students who need personalized support (enrichment or remediation).
In both, the teacher is expected to use formative assessment. The teacher will look at the data and make decisions. In competency A, however, the teacher has been asked to look at overarching trends across their students whereas in Competency B the teacher is honing in on individual students and making plans for individualized support. For designers of micro-credentials, thoughtful development and definition of each competency can ensure that both of these strategies have been considered. It is important to note that both competencies are important, but by “zooming in” and allowing the educator to choose which competency is most needed in their class, they’re able to personalize their own learning experience, even as they work to personalize their students’ experiences.