Micro-credentials in the Applied Health Sciences: Quality is Key to Success

Toronto: A new discussion paper for eCampusOntario by The Michener Institute of Education at UHN’s School of Applied Health Sciences argues for the importance of quality control when granting micro-credentials and recommends a framework for the incorporation of micro-credentials in the applied health sciences, all towards helping Canada’s health care professionals be more adaptable to changing technologies, patient needs and labour market realities.

The report, Micro-credentials in the Applied Health Sciences: A Cautionary Tale about Quality , points out that in the absence of a framework that sets out quality control measures and standards, employers can’t reasonably assess the value or meaning of micro-credential awarded. The report makes eight key recommendations aimed at addressing this and other challenges specific to how micro-credentials are developed and offered in the applied health sciences across Canada, how they align with regulatory and licensing bodies for those professions, and how they can better serve unregulated professions such as Personal Support Workers.

  1. Ensure that micro-credentials imply expertise beyond the ability to perform a certain task or technique, and include the ability to understand and interpret the new skills in context.
  2. Apply quality control concepts that exist in other academic settings to the world of micro-credentials.
  3. Align the micro-credentials framework with the knowledge, skills and competencies frameworks established by the regulatory colleges that control entry-to-practice and licensure of individuals in the applied health care professions.
  4. Develop a case study using PSW programs for the development of micro-credentials in unregulated applied health science professions.
  5. Use the existing eCampusOntario Micro-credentials Framework as a guide for the establishment of micro-credentials in the applied health sciences.
  6. Further examine and define the right assessment tools to support the validity and utility of any micro-credential offered in the applied health sciences.
  7. Use micro-credentials to meet the demand for changing skill sets in current and future health professions as our health labour market continues to evolve.
  8. Establish standardization or quality control processes for how micro-credentials are current granted.

“We know that a micro-credential framework for the applied health sciences has value to the health system, but the absence of proper assessment processes undermines the trust the health system and higher education has in those micro-credentials,” says Lori Peppler-Beechey, co-author of the report and Chair of Michener’s critical care programs.

“Working with eCampusOntario, we hope to standardize how micro-credentials are defined and awarded in a way that adds confidence within our health system, but also builds education pathways for learners who want to build their careers in healthcare.”

“eCampusOntario is pleased to support the Michener Institute in establishing a value-driven micro-credential ecosystem for applied health sciences programming,” says Dr. Robert Luke, CEO of eCampusOntario. “Creating pathways for all learners and workers to advance their careers is essential economic recovery and long-term resilience. This report provides clear pathways for improving micro-credentials in the applied health sciences and adds significant context for the Ontario’s commitment to virtual learning and the Micro-credential Strategy.”

About the Michener School of Applied Health Sciences

The Michener School of Applied Health Sciences is the only postsecondary institution in Canada with programs exclusively in the applied health sciences and consistently superior key performance indicators in graduate employment, and employer and graduate satisfaction. Michener’s programming is inextricably and intimately linked to the needs of the applied sciences health care sector, as its programs are funded by the Ontario Ministry of Health and are embedded within the University Health Network and multiple other hospital and clinical settings. This means they are informed by the labour market and health human resource needs of the province and country. In addition, Michener offers a wide range of applied health sciences programs and works with a host of the regulatory bodies that govern credentialing and entry-to-practice in theses professions.

About eCampusOntario

eCampusOntario is a not-for-profit organization funded by the Government of Ontario that supports Ontario’s colleges, universities, and Indigenous institutes. We build systems that are open, collaborative, and responsive to shifts and opportunities in the educational landscape to connect our campuses to the future of learning.

Contact info

eCampusOntario Media contact: mediarelations@ecampusontario.ca
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