@FutureLearn launches #MicroCredentials with six global partners 

Seven new microcredentials are now available on FutureLearn.com, the leading social learning platform. This first suite of microcredentials includes six partners from the United Kingdom and Ireland, Australia and the USA. 

These founding microcredential partners are from some of the most innovative universities in the world including Dublin City University, The Open University, Deakin University, The University of California, Irvine Division of Continuing Education (DCE), Monash University, and Queensland University of Technology. 

The move to launch microcredentials - accredited, online courses designed to help learners build specialised skills relevant to their career - comes in direct response to demand from both partners and learners. 

Microcredentials support lifelong learning 
It is widely reported that there are skills gaps, that graduates entering the workplace don’t always have the skills that employers expect, and that jobs for life rarely exist any more, so people need to reskill and upskill in order to meet the requirements of today’s workplace. For example, The Global Learner Survey from Pearson late last year reported that the 40-year career is gone, replaced by life-long learning and diverse career paths, and highlighted that their respondents said the world was shifting to a model where people participate in education over a lifetime (55% in the UK and US, and 60% in Australia). 

Both FutureLearn and its partners recognise these changes in the workplace and are offering microcredentials to enable learners to stay relevant and marketable. 

Simon Nelson, Chief Executive of FutureLearn, commented, “Microcredentials are what every partner wants to talk to me about. We can all see that the workplace is changing, learners want, and need, to be able to learn more skills, and universities are brilliantly placed to help them do that. Our partners are also working more closely with industry partners on these microcredentials, The Open University and Cisco, being a great example of this. We expect to see such collaboration emerging as a clear trend in the next year or two as industry takes responsibility for upskilling its employees.” 

Microcredentials launching today

Professor Mark Cummins, Professor of Finance, Dublin City University Business School who is launching The Future of Fintech: FinTech and Financial Innovation said: “In line with the global strategic partnership between DCU and Future Learn, this dedicated microcredential course in FinTech delivers a career-focused micro-learning opportunity for those seeking to enhance their skills, competencies and knowledge in the intersection between finance and technology”.

"This wave of financial technology disruption requires a change in workforce skill sets and company culture, and this microcredential is designed to meet this flexible learning demand through Future Learn’s innovative delivery platform”.

Professor Kevin Ashford-Rowe, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Digital Learning), Queensland University of Technology, who is launching Project Management: Managing Front-End Planning, commented: “QUT has already successfully partnered with FutureLearn on online MOOCS in areas such as robotics and data analytics and is excited to extend this collaboration to deliver to learners worldwide quality educational opportunities through microcredentials.” 

Project management remains a growth area of employment and is one of the most highly sought-after skill areas in today’s business world as it is critical to business operations across most industry sectors. With an international reputation as a world-class provider, QUT was one of the first universities to deliver masters programs in Project Management and has been delivering cutting-edge courses and corporate education in this area for more than 25 years.

Professor Elizabeth Johnson PFHEA, Deputy Vice-Chancellor Education, Deakin University, who is launching Research Methods, in partnership with Griffith University, and will be launching Sports Coaching shortly, commented: “This is an exciting new phase in Deakin’s partnership with FutureLearn, coinciding with the start of a new decade in global education. We’re looking forward to launching microcredentials that improve options for learners, including Research Methods (in partnership with Griffith University). Microcredentials offer students more opportunities to demonstrate their achievement and build skills. Post-graduates in particular, seek more premium, flexible, and online-only university short courses tailored to their needs. Deakin is delighted to be working with FutureLearn in this new venture.”

“We expect the demand for microcredentials to grow rapidly, not only from individual learners but also from organisations,” says Professor Sue Elliott AM, Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Vice-President (Education), Monash University who is launching Data Science: Data-Driven Decision Making. Sue continued, “Microcredentials make it possible to provide staff with the opportunity to upskill rapidly in key business areas.”  Data Science: Data-Driven Decision Making is a hands-on introduction to the interpretation and visualisation of data that will appeal to the growing number of professionals who rely on the effective use of data to succeed in their roles.  

Josie Fraser, Deputy Vice-Chancellor of The Open University which is launching three microcredentials on the platform including Cyber Security Operations (Cisco CCNA), Teacher Training: Embedding Mental Health in the Curriculum, and Digital Photography: Creating a Professional Portfolio, commented: “The Open University believes that a lifelong learning culture can play a huge role in economic success. Microcredentials can be key to learning a new skill quickly in order to reskill; supporting people to adapt to the modern high tech workplace. Learners are able to update their skills with accredited, quality courses, bringing employers on board at the same time. We are very excited to be among the first providers to offer this with FutureLearn.”

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Brian Breen, Chief Corporate Engagement and Partnerships Officer, University of California, Irvine Division of Continuing Education (DCE), who is launching Predictive Analytics, commented: ”Microcredentials help bridge the gap between classroom learning and job-relevant skills verification. As providers of microcredentials that correspond with actual workplace demands, we will be able to achieve greater alignment between the needs of learners and employers. Recent college graduates and working professionals alike are demanding shorter, relevant education that they can put to immediate practical use. Having industry-recognized microcredentials on their resume can help set them apart in the competitive job market.”

Earlier this year, FutureLearn announced it’s involvement with the Common Microcredential Framework (CMF) and these microcredentials adhere to its criteria of requiring 100-150 hours of part-time study, generally over 10-12 weeks. Most microcredentials are worth 10-15 UK credits, 4-6 ECTS credits, or 2-3 US credits.
 
The Future of Fintech: FinTech and Financial Innovation, Dublin City University, starts on 24 February and will explore key elements of the FinTech landscape, as well as the main technologies and applications behind the FinTech revolution.
Project Management: Managing Front-End Planning, Queensland University of Technology, starts on 24 February 2020 and will focus on how to plan and manage large scale projects and start your journey as a professional project manager. With the support of industry professionals, you’ll learn how to use, select and apply project planning tools and techniques to resolve common project issues and support project delivery. As you learn how to manage stakeholders, you'll build the skills to communicate professionally both orally and in writing. You’ll also consider the importance of project scheduling, ethical decision-making, and developing responsive project options.

Research Methods (Deakin and Griffith Universities in partnership) starts on 24 February 2020 and focuses on crucial research methods and techniques to conduct research that helps solve problems on a global scale and make evidence-based decisions to a professional and academic standard. 
Data Science: Data-Driven Decision Making, Monash University, starts on 2 March 2020 and is a hands-on introduction to the interpretation and visualisation of data that will appeal to the growing number of professionals who rely on the effective use of data to succeed in their roles.  

Cyber Security Operations (Cisco CCNA), The Open University, endorsed by the Cisco Networking Academy starts on 16 March 2020 where learners can upskill in cyber security operations. Students will learn how cyber security professionals respond to an imminent, active or recent cyber threat, and explore how to go about resolving attacks and completing legal investigations of any potential cybercrime. Learners will develop skills using up-to-date experience from the internationally recognised Cisco CCNA Cyber Security operations certification. 

Teacher Training: Embedding Mental Health in the Curriculum, The Open University, starts on 30 March 2020 where learners will develop skills to design inclusive teaching, learning and assessment activities that enhance student mental health and wellbeing.

Digital Photography: Creating a Professional Portfolio, The Open University, endorsed by the Royal Photographic Society, the UK’s leading photography organisation starts on 30 March 2020 will allow learners to navigate the fast-moving technological developments in digital photography and build a professional portfolio they’re proud of.

Predictive Analytics, The University of California, Irvine Division of Continuing Education (DCE), will start later this year where learners will discover data management, manipulation and machine learning tools and use predictive analytics to inform business practice and improve business results.

Sports Coaching, Deakin University, will launch shortly and will be led by Professor of Practice, Paddy Upton. Students will learn and apply elite coaching techniques to develop, motivate and lead high-performing individuals and teams.

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