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K-State Today

December 18, 2020

College of Business pilots new micro-credentialing program

Submitted by Brent Fritzemeier

College of Business

Want to make a career transition, or bolster your resume in areas like data analytics or business plan development, but don't have the time or money for a full degree plan? If so, micro-credentials that will be offered soon by the College of Business at Kansas State University may be for you.

In an effort to meet marketplace demand for workforce upskilling, the College of Business is piloting a new line of micro-credentials and digital badges targeted at the adult learner.

Micro-credentials are certifications in a specific topic area — like data analytics or business plan development. They verify, validate and attest that specific skills and/or competencies have been achieved and are endorsed by an issuing institution. 

To earn a micro-credential, one would need to complete a certain number of activities, assessments, or projects related to that badge's topic. Digital badges are a digital form of certification indicating demonstrated mastery in a specific skill or set of skills.

"Research from the World Economic Forum reports that 50% of today's workforce will need upskilling within the next five years, but the current rate is only at 5%," said Chwen Sheu, associate dean for academic programs. "The badge programs we are piloting this year look to help fill that void and provide additional employment opportunities for people looking to make career transitions."

Digital badges are often designed for working, non-degree seeking professionals in an online, self-paced format. Students who successfully complete a badge will receive a digital recognition of their accomplishments that they can share on social media and link to a digital resume. Electronic badges include meta-data on the evidence of learning and link back to sponsoring institution and evaluation criteria.

"Badges are a great way for a working professional to enhance their resume, or perhaps for someone who is looking for a way to make a jump between careers," Sheu said. "By obtaining a badge from an AACSB-accredited College of Business, both the students and potential employers can be assured of the quality of the credential."

For this initial pilot program, the College of Business is developing digital badges in the areas of data analytics and entrepreneurship with a planned launch date of summer 2021. As the program develops, the college will look to add more badges to meet marketplace needs.

In the area of entrepreneurship, badges are being created in business plan development and strategic innovation. Business Plan Development is a self-guided course that provides an overview of the business planning process. The course is especially applicable for those looking to start a business or a new initiative within an existing organization and want to increase the likelihood of success. It covers the planning process from customer discovery and idea validation to business models and financial projections.

"The Strategic Innovation course looks at different approaches and tools companies use to facilitate — or inadvertently kill — innovation with specific examples from today's most innovative companies," said Chad Jackson, director of the Center of the Advancement of Entrepreneurship. "I cover a variety of key topics, such as disruptive innovation and how to respond to it, external and internal sources of innovation, customer-centered innovation maps, and cognitive barriers to innovation. The course is set up to be 100% online and can also be customized for specific business' needs."

For more information on the micro-credential pilot program or how your business can partner with it, contact Sheu at csheu@k-state.edu