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6 October 2022

Exploring reflective microcredentials with an Advance HE global impact grant

The Advance HE Global Impact Grants are an opportunity for international Advance HE members to share success stories about higher education projects that have had a demonstrable impact on their staff or students. We recently spoke to Associate Professor Kelly Miller about her Advance HE Global Impact Grant for a case study into how reflective microcredentials give students an edge when applying for jobs.

Tell us about yourself. What is your role at Deakin?

I’m Associate Professor in Environment and Society in the School of Life and Environmental Sciences and currently I’m the Course Director for the Bachelor of Environmental Science (Environmental Management and Sustainability). I teach three core units in the degree, Society and Environment, Environmental Planning and Impact Assessment, and Ecotourism and Environmental Interpretation.

I am an environmental social scientist. I’m particularly interested in understanding how people value the environment, what they know about it, how they interact with different environmental systems and how that all ties in with environmental education, policy and management. In recent years I have researched education for sustainability which relates to the Advance HE grant.

Can you tell us more about your Advance HE global impact grant?

The Advance HE global impact grant was for a case study showcasing the reflective microcredential we have offered to students in environmental science since 2015.  

The microcredential has given students an opportunity to reflect on their learning and how it develops their employability skills by gathering and articulating evidence of teamwork skills in a digital portfolio, which is then assessed along with industry partners. Successful students are awarded a digital microcredential which can be displayed on LinkedIn and on cover letters for job applications.

What are the benefits of the project?

Students found that the process of gathering evidence for the teamwork reflective microcredential gave them the opportunity to consider their teamwork experience not just within their studies, but also as part of their personal and professional identity. They also reflected more broadly on their contributions to society and the environment, rather than just about their employability skills. Employers were also excited to learn about the micro-credential and suggested it would help them recruit high-quality graduates.

Recipients of the micro-credential notably achieved excellent employment outcomes, with over 95% in full-time employment six months after graduation, and over 80% in the environment profession.

Did you collaborate with anyone else from Deakin or any other partners?

Lots of people were involved in the development and implementation of the reflective microcredential, in particular Dr Trina Jorre de St Jorre, Associate Professor Jan West, Emeritus Professor Malcolm Campbell, Emeritus Professor Beverley Oliver and Professor Liz Johnson, Deputy Vice-Chancellor Academic. Our industry partners and graduate students were instrumental in setting the standards and creating an authentic assessment process.

What are the next steps for the reflective microcredential?

As part of the SEBE Guiding Employability Plan, we’re now exploring how we might take what we’ve learnt from the reflective micro-credential and embed those principles in our curriculum and align it with existing assessments. We want to find the touch points in the course where we cover these employability skills and find ways to make sure the students engage with these kinds of learning activities right from their first day at Deakin.

Where can people go to learn more?

Members can read more about the case study into the reflective microcredential on the Advance HE website. You can also read our papers ‘The potential of digital credentials to engage students with capabilities of importance to scholars and citizens’ and ‘Digital micro-credentials in environmental science: an employer perspective on valued evidence of skills’.

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