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Hello again! We’re so glad to see that you’re back for another Coffee Break Chat (or perhaps for your first one). Feel free to get comfortable in your chair, sip from your favorite mug or Starbucks drink, and listen to a magical story about the Miracle of the Micro-credential.

Long, long ago (a.k.a. prior to 2013) in a place far, far away (i.e. the United States), valiant teachers and educators of the land were in a conundrum.

They spent hours and hours in professional development courses each year, doing their absolute best to gain new skills that could be applied in their classrooms and which could concretely help them teach their students more effectively. According to the American Institutes for Research, districts often spend more than $18 billion per year on professional development, adding up to a total of more than 68 hours a year in training for educators.

However, the teachers of yore were left unsatisfied with the result of their 68 hours of hard work.

Where was the technology-incorporation component that they longed for?

Where was the content they desired that was directly applicable to the subject(s) they taught, instead of an umbrella training designed purely to fulfill a requirement?

Where was the flexible, long-term aspect of the training that would allow teachers to make progress over time (instead of sitting in one classroom and being bombarded with information for eight hours, and then never again)?

How were teachers in rural areas supposed to commute long distances to these old in-person PD sessions?

Eventually, the dissatisfaction that teachers experienced with this style of learning began to evaporate as one Knight in Shining Armor came to save the day, a true miracle arriving before their very eyes:

The micro-credential.

What is the meaning of this miracle, you ask? An easy way to think about micro-credentials is to think of them as an educator’s equivalent of earning a Boy Scout or Girl Scout badge for completing a challenging task. Essentially, micro-credentials are offered at the end of online professional development courses that teachers complete over time and at their own pace—the courses are also segmented into chunks, which often relate to one central subject (such as Digital Tools or Best Practices for teaching Science online). Once teachers finish their online course, they are offered a badge of completion as proof of and reward for their newly developed skills.

Additionally, some micro-credentials (such as many offered through online PD courses here at iLC)  simultaneously award teachers college credit for courses that already exist at actual universities. Completing required PD and earning additional credits toward a degree at the same time—now that’s the real miracle!

What are Educator Micro-Credentials?

Thus, the quest for fruitful PD was fulfilled, and the teachers of yore were satisfied.

Wow, you’re already done with your coffee? Guess you’re just as astounded by micro-credentials as we are!

Hop over to the “Training for Educators” square on the drop down menu from the “What We Do” tab on our website, and check out all the micro-credentialed courses we have to offer.

Thanks for joining us today, and don’t forget to check out one teacher’s testimonial regarding these courses:

As an educator who has spent most of my career in online and blended learning, I have been so impressed by the high standards of iLearn Collaborative. The fact that the programs are designed by teachers, for teachers is evident from the start. I was also amazed at the excellence of the content and the expertise of the facilitator – I learned so much from both! Novice teachers who are just beginning their journey into blended or online learning will walk away with concrete, easily-implementable steps to take to immediately improve their learners’ experiences; experienced practitioners will find new and up-to-date frameworks, tools, and best practices to help them continue to refine their craft.

— Elizabeth LeBlanc, Taos Academy Charter School

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