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Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Will Credentials Displace Degrees?

Students expect education to improve their job prospects. At the same time, employers want job candidates who have acquired the high-tech skills and qualifications as they enter the job market.

This is causing a shift away from the traditional college degree and toward credentials, such as online badges, course certificates, and dynamic assessments, according to Aaron Skonnard, CEO of the online training provider Plurasight. In a post for TechCrunch, Skonnard predicted that credentials will at least be as relevant as the college degrees because they offer “more insight into hard skills.”

Massive open online courses (MOOCs) got the discussion started by making higher education somewhat more accessible. Completion rates proved to be an issue, so MOOC providers adapted and expanded beyond free education to create training and certification programs that use credentials for skills that employers want.

“We live in a time of real-time analytics, and we dashboard everything inside the organization, from sales to operation costs to customer sentiment,” Skonnard wrote. “It’s only natural that this trend should extend into the way we vet, assess, and track the skills and abilities of our prospective and current employees. The more data options we have, the more deliberate we can become about making good hiring decisions, and the more prescriptive we can be about addressing monumental skills gaps in the workplace. The college degree alone can’t provide this kind of holistic insight.”

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