Giving Compass' Take:

• Here are three lessons on how micro-credentials can work for educators as part of professional learning programs. 

• How is your state allocating money for professional development programs for educators? Are micro-credentials a part of funding? 

• Read about how micro-credentials can help ease difficulties for new teachers. 

As a lifelong educator, my professional learning experiences have run the gamut from self-study to week-long intensive institutes. These experiences have increased my knowledge, but few bridged the gap by impacting my instructional practice. The distinction between an impact on knowledge and practice is at the crux of professional learning reform discussions.

Traditional professional development offerings are often lackluster and appear ineffective in supporting changes in teachers’ practices and student learning. With an estimated $18 Billion spent annually on professional learning in our nation, evidence of impact is difficult to measure and seldom reported accurately.

When I became the director of professional learning at the Clark County Education Association (CCEA) four years ago, I made it my own personal mission to turn professional learning on its head. The Clark County School District (CCSD) felt saturated with professional development opportunities that were all similar in nature, yet most did not seem to result in improved practice. I have been in a unique role as the director, whereby I’ve been able to work collaboratively with CCSD to understand the needs of our school system while simultaneously creating opportunities through CCEA member-led programs.

My ultimate goal was to create and offer research-backed professional learning opportunities that bridged the gap by impacting instructional and professional practices. The caveat: evidence of this impact had to be available.

It was through the pursuit of this goal that CCEA entered the world of micro-credentials. Micro-credentials are competency-based, enabling educators to be recognized for the knowledge and skills they use to be successful in their field.

A professional learning system needs to exist that acknowledges the value of micro-credentials and recognizes the educator for earning micro-credentials. CCEA is still relatively new to the micro-credential landscape; in our case, however, the quantity of time does not align with the number of lessons we’ve learned.

  • First and foremost, autonomy is key.
  • Don’t underestimate the impact of grassroots efforts.
  • Honor the expertise that exists within schools.

Read the full article about micro-credentials by Brenda A. Pearson at Getting Smart.