“Professional development seems to be more connected to an event or an objective, where as professional learning is ongoing.” – George Couros
Professional Development vs. Professional Learning
Professional development, which “happens to” educators, is often associated with one-time workshops, seminars, or lectures, and is typically a one-size-fits all approach.
In contrast, professional learning, when designed well, is typically interactive, sustained, and customized to educators’ needs. It encourages educators to take responsibility for their own learning and to practice what they are learning in their own teaching contexts. Professional learning is intended to result in system-wide changes for student outcomes.
Professional Learning with Micro-Credentials
What are micro-credentials?
A micro-credential is personalized, job-embedded, competency-based professional learning. Educators select micro-credentials to improve a discrete skill related to instructional practice, students’ needs, school-improvement goals, or professional-growth goals. Educators earn digital badges for successful completion of the micro-credential to display as evidence of effective and consistent use of the target skill or concept in their professional practice.
Why earn micro-credentials?
Micro-credentials allow educators time to learn, reflect, and implement content that will impact their professional practices and lead to higher achievement for all students. The majority of micro-credential issuers provide practitioners with a coach (usually remote) to guide and support them through the micro-credential process.
Districts may elect to use stacks of micro-credentials to create opportunities for advancement on the district’s salary schedule.
Current uses of micro-credentials in Arkansas
- to earn designations on the career continuum
- to develop effective teaching practices in early career professionals
- to supplement the content area Praxis if a candidate is within 2 Standard Errors of Measure from Arkansas’s proficiency score
- to enhance an educator’s pedagogical practices
How do I get started with micro-credentials?
Micro-credential Partnership of States
In 2022, digiLEARN convened partners from Wyoming, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Arkansas to form the Micro-credential Partnership of States, a collaborative multistate effort to identify opportunities and address challenges related to micro-credentialing.
The Micro-credential Partnership of States collaboratively produced Quality Assurance Standards to provide guidance to educators, school districts, and state leaders as they incorporate micro-credentials into systems of professional learning and licensure. In addition, the Quality Assurance Standards provide criteria by which earners, developers, assessors, issuers, and recognizers can gauge the quality of a given micro-credential, establishing universal quality, portability, and value to educators across the nation.