The Rise of Alternative Credentials in Higher Education

UPCEA/Pearson Survey Draws Attention to the Challenge Facing Alternative Credentials.

“The root of the word ‘credential’ is credence, and the value offered by credibility is only possible when credentials are based on a foundation of solid learning and assessment design, backed by trusted, experienced learning organizations.”
-Jim Fong, Director, UPCEA Center for Research and Marketing Strategy

UPCEA and Pearson recently released insightful research on the rise of credentialing in higher education. Alternative credentials, nontraditional learning outcomes derived from non-degree assessments, are making their mark in higher education and in the workforce. Ninety-four percent of the institutions surveyed in the information-rich study offer nontraditional credentials. The brand recognition of these institutions plays a crucial role in developing trust in alternative credentials. But is that enough for the workforce to follow the footsteps of universities in credentialing nontraditional avenues? Can other tools support and enhance higher education’s efforts?

The university brand alone cannot provide nontraditional credentials with the trust that they need and deserve. Edtech tools enhance assessment and engagement processes, and are the additional, necessary driver in the growth of alternative credentials. Edtech will bring nontraditional credentials from the fringe of higher education to the center by enhancing the existing trust in alternative credentials.

Quality edtech tools verify learning outcomes by providing an assurance of integrity to the credentialing process. The growth of online learning reflects the trust higher education places in the verification process of edtech tools such as online proctoring. Edtech tools support the nontraditional avenues of higher education institutions and individuals seeking such an avenue. Individuals finish the credentialing process with ease when using edtech tools.

Edtech tools also enhance accessibility and ease of engagement for those seeking nontraditional credentials. Allowing programs to use real-time feedback to create adaptive learning pathways that are unique to each student is just one example of the many ways that edtech transforms alternative credentials into a viable solution.

Edtech and alternative credentials together will play an important role in the future of higher education. A culture of trust, based on respected universities confidently validating specific learning outcomes, serves as the foundation for respected and recognized alternative credentials. The addition of edtech tools to that foundation strengthens the credentialing of the nontraditional. Alternative credentials and edtech are the perfect marriage.

We at ProctorFree are passionate about enhancing the trust and validity of learning outcome assessments, and we are excited to help grow alternative credentials through our partnerships with higher education institutions.

Interested in learning more about how we help improve learning outcome assessments? Contact Us