Ottawa, April 12, 2021 – In order to help understand the latest trends in lifelong learning, Colleges and Institutes Canada (CICan) has released a new study on the status of microcredentials. Based on an environmental scan and a survey of colleges and institutes, the report shows how these flexible and accessible learning options are gaining ground across the country.
The environmental scan showed a great interest in microcredentials across Canada and a degree of agreement on their purpose, characteristics and value. It also showed that 56% of responding colleges are offering microcredentials either online, in-person, or both, and that 33% are planning to or interested in doing so in the near future. This is not entirely new for colleges and institutes who have always been key providers of continuing education, including a variety of short programs and certificates, even if they were not called microcredentials. But as lifelong learning increasingly becomes the norm, we are seeing an increasing demand for more flexible pathways and credential types for learners.
“In recent years, the Canadian labour market has been defined by technological change and disruption, creating the need for employees to consistently upgrade their skills to match”, noted CICan president and CEO, Denise Amyot. “The COVID-19 pandemic and the job loss it caused has only added to the challenge. The resulting need for upskilling and reskilling among many different sectors has created a trend toward short, specialized courses known as microcredentials that focus on specific competencies required by employers.”
The report on the status of microcredentials in Canadian colleges and institutes also validates many of the guiding principles in CICan’s recently launched National Framework for Microcredentials. Recognizing that approaches vary widely across the country, this framework offers a standard definition for microcredentials that was endorsed by all the regional associations representing colleges and institutes across Canada.
This framework defines a micro-credential as “a certification of assessed competencies that is additional, alternate, complementary to, or a component of a formal qualification”. It also articulates the leadership role colleges and institutes are playing in offering microcredentials, largely in response to the needs of employers in their communities.
Those looking for more information on microcredentials and the results of the environmental scan may register to a webinar offered to CICan members and other interested parties on April 13, 2021.
About Colleges and Institutes Canada:
Colleges and Institutes Canada (CICan) is the voice of Canada’s publicly-supported colleges, institutes, cegeps and polytechnics, and an international leader in education for employment with ongoing programs in over 25 countries. CICan’s members add over $190B to Canada’s economy each year and contribute to inclusive economic growth by working with industry and community partners to offer more than 10,000 programs to learners in urban, rural, remote, and northern communities.
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