This eBook provides pedagogical guidelines for designing and developing joint micro-credential programmes, to be published on the BLOOM hub. The hub will present a series of models and guidelines for key educational digital formats for digital higher education courses and programmes, international collaboration and mobility.

The development of micro-credentials in a lifelong learning perspective is a top priority of the European Commission, as expressed in the Proposal for a Recommendation to the Council of Ministers on Micro-credentials. In the preparatory documents of the European Commission’s Micro-credentials in Higher Education Consultation Group, the offer of microcredentials can vary in learning volume from 1 ECTS to any volume smaller than a degree at the same EQF level.

In this document, we cover micro-credentials of 4 to 5 ECTS and larger programs of in formal higher education settings and consisting of more than one course, such as joint CMF micro-credential programmes, undergraduate/postgraduate certification programmes, continuing education programmes, expert programmes, specialization programmes, focus diplomas, MOOC pathways, gradeos , MicroMasters or nanodegrees. A qualification is awarded after following such a micro-credential programme.

Single micro-credential courses of 1 to 3 ECTS have different design guidelines, therefore they are explained in another eBook. Individual online courses are already rewarded with ECTS credits. Stand-alone micro-learning units are smaller than 1 ECTS and are covered in the same document. In many cases, they are awarded with a badge.

The qualification structure of micro-credentials will be discussed in the near future at the level of the EU Council, national governments and within higher education institutions.

The basic premise for our guidelines is “teaching as a design science” (Laurillard, 2012): educational formats as presented on the BLOOM hub should be the subject of successive design steps, in which teachers and programme boards take the lead, supported by teaching and learning and educational ICT support services. Institutional leadership should promote innovation in higher education through digitization strategies and create the necessary conditions for the design, development and implementation of digitized education.

This eBook first provides a general overview of the successive design and development steps for a joint micro-credential programme. The following sections that follow explain each of these steps, mapping out actions and guidelines to be taken for each step. Based on the general overview, each section is directly accessible: from the overview, the eBook can be unfolded.

Special thanks go to Fred Truyen (KU Leuven) and Paivi Kananen (University of Jyväskylä),
who provided extensive comments on this eBook.

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