The Why & What of Micro-Credentials
Traditional Professional Development
Most professional development is offered in either a workshop or online format, and focuses on introducing educators to new concepts. Unfortunately, the application of those concepts to the classroom is often outside the scope of the formal professional development program. Moreover, teachers who are already proficient in a particular concept and its application have no way to demonstrate their skill, and thus find themselves sitting through trainings that are unhelpful for advancing their practice.
iLearn Collaborative's Learning Experience
iLearn Collaborative has never believed in that traditional approach to professional development. We have always introduced educators to new concepts, designed rigorous projects that help them apply those concepts in their classrooms, and provided them with one-on-one support, helping teachers iterate and refine their practice. Educators who complete our professional development programs have already applied new skills and thus can continue to do so well after our formal programming is complete. (This is after all, what we want for all students.)
The Role of the Micro-Credential
Micro-credentials offer several benefits to teachers and district leaders by allowing teachers to demonstrate the skills they have learned:
- Teachers can earn the credibility to run professional learning communities
- Administrators can design personalized professional learning that will promote individual teacher growth
- Administrators can learn what practices are used by their most effective teachers to drive student outcomes and define programs to help other teachers adopt those practices
- Administrators can create incentive structures to reward teachers for adopting new practices, creating a healthy teacher-driven culture of innovation
The Evolution of Professional Development
As part of our partnership with Bloomboard, iLearn Collaborative intends to make three enhancements to its existing programming. First, we will define which 2-3 micro-credentials are associated with our existing programs. Second, we will make it possible for educators who are already familiar with those concepts to provide evidence of their competency without requiring them to go through our learning experience. And finally, we will make the documentation on the research basis for the practices we teach available to those who are not participating in the course itself.
We do all of our new program development in partnership with the educators we serve, however, so we are going to begin with these five micro-credentials and then develop additional ones based on your feedback.