Microcredentials as a pathway for the digitisation of engineering degrees

Euan Lindsay, Mette Møller Jeppesen, Lisbeth Ramonn Vesterheden

Research output: Contribution to book/anthology/report/conference proceedingArticle in proceedingResearchpeer-review

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Responding to the COVID 19 pandemic has seen a sudden influx of digitalisation of engineering teaching through the move to emergency remote instruction. Universities must now choose between reverting back to traditional, largely face-to-face models of education, or moving forwards to more digital native approaches to delivery. Many of these digital native approaches have much in common with the work that is emerging in the field of microcredentials. While often originating in the co-curricular or continuing education space, many of the principles of microcredentials are potentially applicable to engineering degrees, but work in this space is held back by academics either not understanding or misunderstanding what microcredentials are and can be.

This paper will explore a range of microcredentials, presenting a multidimensional framework of what microcredentials are and can be. It will identify the parts of this n-dimensional space that are relevant for emerging models of engineering education and explore their potential within engineering degrees. It will show that there is an emerging convergence between the objectives of microcredentials and traditional engineering education.

This paper will draw upon the literature and emerging standards in the field of microcredentials, as well as drawing from identified emerging trends in the design of engineering programs. It will also illustrate its key points with familiar but counter-intuitive examples of microcredentials.

The paper will show that the field of microcredentials is much broader than most academics consider, but that current conceptualisations of microcredentials mean that only a very small part of that space is currently in use. The incipient move to digital native models of teaching will inherently lead to learning resources that align with some of the dimensions of the microcredential space. Combining the lessons of both fields will allow for a quicker, more effective and more sustainable transition to new models of engineering education in the future.

Not all types of microcredentials are valuable for engineering education, but the ones that are valuable have the potential to become the dominant modes of delivery for technical content in the future. Providing clear frameworks for what microcredentials are, can be, and should be, will equip curriculum designers to move forward with digital native curricular that can leverage the advantages microcredentials have already demonstrated in co-curricular spaces.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of AAEE 2022 - Future of Engineering Education
Number of pages8
PublisherAAEE - Australasian Association for Engineering Education
Publication dateDec 2022
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022
Event33rd Annual Conference of the Australasian Association for Engineering Education - Western Sydney University, Sydney, Australia
Duration: 4 Dec 20227 Dec 2022


Conference33rd Annual Conference of the Australasian Association for Engineering Education
LocationWestern Sydney University


  • Microcredentials
  • digitisation
  • Curriculum Development


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