Microcredentials linked to the Bologna Key Commitments (MICROBOL)

Background

MICROBOL is linked to the aims of the new Erasmus+ Programme and the European Higher Education Area (EHEA) to increase access to continuous learning for all learners, regardless of age or experience.

These learners include regular higher education students, but also underrepresented groups, adult learners and in fact all those who want to improve their knowledge, skills and competences. If we want to fill the gap between formal education leading to classic degrees and the fast-changing knowledge-development and labour market needs, we need to create new flexible ways of learning and teaching such as short learning programmes and microcredentials. These can be offered through formal or informal education and through online or face-to-face courses.

Aims and activities

The specific objective of this project is for ministries and stakeholders to explore, within the Bologna Process, whether and how the existing Bologna tools can be used and/or need to be adapted to be applicable to microcredentials. Ideally, all these short forms of learning should guarantee a standard of quality; they should be linked to the qualifications frameworks (QF) and be recognised appropriately throughout the EHEA. In this project an international consortium will organise various meetings and workshops where governments, experts and stakeholders will come together to evaluate the current practices and policies relating to microcredentials. Based on the findings of these meetings, a common European framework for microcredentials will be proposed.The project will primarily focus on microcredentials provided by higher education institutions (HEIs) or in conjunction with HEIs, and touch secondly on those entirely provided by companies, public sector, or non-profit organisations, the system of ‘open badges’ and other bits of ‘micro’-learning.

ENQA’s role

ENQA is providing external quality assurance expertise to the project, and takes part in the projects’ three working groups: on quality assurance, qualifications’ frameworks, and recognition, exploring in each case the role quality assurance, and the applicability of the ESG to the short learning experiences.

ENQA was additionally in charge of organizing the kick-off conference of the project on 31 August and the related working groups on 1st September 2021.

Consortium

The Flemish Ministry of Education and Training coordinates MICROBOL in partnership with:

  • The Ministry of Education and Culture, Finland
  • Information Centre on Academic Mobility and Equivalence (CIMEA), Italy
  • The European University Association (EUA), Belgium
  • The European Association for Quality Assurance in Higher Education (ENQA), Belgium

Funding and duration

MICROBOL is a 2-year project (2020-2022) co-funded by Erasmus+ KA3 Support to Policy reform, and more specifically “Support to the implementation of EHEA reforms”.

Contact and further information

A short introduction PowerPoint can be found here. For more information, please contact the project coordinator Magalie Soenen, on Magalie.soenen@ond.vlaanderen.be.

Outcomes

The key project outcomes can be accessed via the project website: https://microcredentials.eu/

Key outcomes include the MICROBOL Desk Research Report as well as reports of the kick-off conference and the different working group meetings.

The report “Micro-credentials and Bologna Key Commitments. State of play in the European Higher Education Area

The Output Document of the Working Group on QF & ECTS

Joint Document with Recommendations from the MICROBOL project was published for the European Commission’s proposal for Council recommendation on micro-credentials for lifelong learning and employability.

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