Micro-credentials in higher education institutions: An exploratory study of its place in Tanzania

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Micro-credentials represent an alternative approach to career and professional development whereby an individual’s skills, achievements, and accomplishments get to be recognized. They offer the possibility to enhance skills, to manage career pathways as well as adding practicality in the academic content. Moreover, micro-credentials are the cost-effective professional development strategies that significantly minimize employees training cost and time. Also, micro-credentials in higher education institutions (HEIs), refers to the integration of digital badges within universities curricular and community engagement activities to inspire connected and lifelong learning for the professional development of students, educators and communities in formal learning settings. This paper explores ways in which micro-credentials can be offered in the Tanzanian Universities. Specifically, we explore educators’ perception, readiness and implementation strategies. The qualitative methods such as in-depth interviews with thirty-one lecturers, fifty-four students and twelve educational technologists were deployed. The four Tanzanian universities were purposively chosen whereas theoretical sampling was used to identify respondents. Data were analysed within NVIVO software in accordance with the Strauss and Corbin Grounded Theory. The results suggest that university lecturers and students are optimistic that micro-credentials stimulate lifelong and connected learning as well as expand the scope of the universities’ mandate. However, to leverage from these potentials, multi-level interventions are needed. We recommend the creation of micro-credentials ecosystem, formulation of strategies and policies, deployment of necessary infrastructure as well as building relevant skill-base. Implications, contributions and limitations of the study are discussed in line with the findings. Finally, the paper contributes to the literature on the implementation of micro-credentials in higher education (HE).
A research article submitted to the IJEDICT journal. Vol . 15 of 2019
digital badges, micro-credentials, lifelong learning, onnected learning, higher education