Microcredentials a new avenue in higher education

LETTERS: The field of higher education is now more open, with access to online courses offered by domestic and foreign universities through international platforms such as FutureLearn, Edx and Coursera.

These courses are sometimes offered as microcredentials, which have a credit value equivalent to conventional study credits if taken face-to-face at a university, because they consist of a complete study component with learning outcomes, comprehensive content and assessments that measure the achievement of learning outcomes.

Universiti Malaya (UM) has offered more than 40 online courses, which are open to all.

And since 2017, the Malaysian Qualifications Agency (MQA) has allowed up to 30 per cent of the credit requirement for graduation to be taken as online courses and transferred as credits to university students after meeting certain conditions.

Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia and Sijil Tinggi Persekolahan Malaysia leavers can now start university studies without waiting for registration as a student of any university or institute of higher learning.

This way, they may achieve two positive payoffs. First, a lighter study load, by only having to complete the remaining 70 per cent of graduation credits on courses that must be taken face-to-face during the entire period of study.

Secondly, the shortening of the study period since they have completed up to 30 per cent of the credit requirements for graduation in self-directed learning.

Microcredentials support a culture of lifelong learning and is gaining ground among employers.

Therefore, it is not surprising that technology giants such as Microsoft, Google and many others, each offer their own online courses, with certificates in the form of digital badges and microcredentials in areas of IT needs, such as cloud computing, cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, data science and others.

Those who want to get a better job, or negotiate a promotion and salary, have started using microcredentials to prove the skills they have, to boost confidence and also trust in potential employers.


Former Head of eLearning,

Academic Development and Enhancement Centre,

Universiti Malaya

The views expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect those of the New Straits Times

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