PD Anywhere Professional Development Blog

Do It Yourself PD: Create Your Own Custom Micro-Credentials

September 10, 2018

With today’s technology, school districts can now create their own personalized online learning opportunities for teachers, coaches, and administrators. Micro-credentials customized to meet specific needs are not just possible, they are often better than other professional development (PD) alternatives. Here is what is happening in the world of online professional development …

Continuing Education and Professional Development

Just like doctors, attorneys, engineers, and other professionals, educators are required to complete a specific number of hours of professional development (PD) each year. Administrators, instructional coaches, and teachers earn hours, or units, that count toward their continuing education or professional learning requirements. Micro-credentials, or badges, are an increasingly common form of documentation related to that continuing education. While micro-credentials and continuing education units both serve as evidence of professional development, only micro-credentials require a demonstration of specific competencies, not just participation for a specific number of hours.

Topics That Can be Addressed with Custom Micro-Credentials

States, school districts, individual campuses, and specialized programs already design and provide professional development. This PD usually takes the form of large group presentations, small group follow up meetings, or conferences with a theme or designated topic. However, the PD world is changing and more opportunities for online learning through micro-credentials are happening. Your team, campus, or district can create and offer micro-credentials on specific topics most relevant to you and your team. Examples of topics and types of PD available through micro-credentials include:

  • Follow-up training after initial learning (for example, how to implement specific data review protocols);
  • Small chunks of learning specific to a content area or grade, like embedded vocabulary techniques;
  • Specific topics related to one group or campus, including positive behavior supports for a campus with high referral rates;
  • Problem solving information that might be needed after implementing a new district-wide initiative (for example, specific examples of how to implement steps required);
  • Key instructional strategies that have documented effectiveness, like combining daily learning targets with formative assessment;
  • Human resource training on topics related to communication;
  • Technology training on new applications and software that everyone in the district is expected to use.

Examples of Personalized, Customized Approaches Already in Use

The Education Commission of the States has provided information to districts that want to learn more about micro-credentials. Their document is available through this link: https://www.ecs.org/wp-content/uploads/State-Information-Request_Micro-Credentialing-in-Teacher-Professional-Development.pdf

As this document says, educators typically complete an online module for a micro-credential and must demonstrate specific skills in order earn the certificate or badge for it. Options like projects, videos, photo essays, lesson plans, and examples of student work are often used to demonstrate the competencies associated with each micro-credential. The article also highlights states and districts that have implemented several different micro-credential practices, including:

  • Compensation systems for participants with pay incentives for micro-credential completion
  • Micro-credential menus or catalogues that provide choices for educators
  • Pre-approval of the micro-credentials as continuing education units and/or graduate credits
  • Incentives for completion, including physical badges and portfolios

Here at PD Anywhere, we are committed to working with all districts to create custom, personalized professional learning opportunities. If you are interested in reading more about PD Anywhere’s programs, click here https://pdanywhere.com/features-administrators/ or contact us directly at info@pdanywhere.com

Resources for This Post:

Education Commission of the States. (2017) Response to information request. Retrieved online September 10, 2018. https://www.ecs.org/wp-content/uploads/State-Information-Request_Micro-Credentialing-in-Teacher-Professional-Development.pdf

The Consortium for School Networking (COSN). (2017) Micro-credentialing. Retrieved online: September 10, 2018. https://cosn.org/blog/micro-credentialing