Certifications and completions

I’ve recently been having a look at Moodle HQ’s “Moodle 4.0 for Educators” course. Whilst the course itself is fine for introducing the new Moodle features (they also have plenty of videos on YouTube and a recent webinar covered most of what you would need as an experienced Moodle user) one section stood out: the “General discussion forum”.

Yes, you guessed it, an online course designed to help educators (basically just get up-to-speed on some relatively minor, if important, changes from Moodle 3.x) has a discussion board taken up with comments of two main types – “how do we complete the course” and “can I have a certificate”. Depressing. Neither of these things are important, especially in this experience, yet the expectation from these global educators is that this IS important.

Similarly, I recently had a piece of feedback on one of my designed online courses which was one of the lowest scores received to date (yes, I know, Level 1 feedback but it is kinda relevant here). Do you want to guess the reason for the poor score? The feedback was “how do you know people have learned anything” – in some ways a valid piece of feedback (i.e. we don’t) but it also jumps to the assumption that every online piece of learning content needs an exam. Particularly galling in this example as it is an introductory course and the content is assessed in later courses (the introduction branching to various follow-up courses depending on the user’s interest).

On a related note I’ve recently added a bunch of LinkedIn course completions to my profile, thanks to my employer paying for LinkedIn Learning. Some of these completions are a result of previous LL trials or LinkedIn premium use, others I have completed in the last few weeks to test content, learn something new, etc. I have not added all of what I have ‘completed’ onto my profile, instead opting to just include the (in my opinion) more useful items. However, the LinkedIn approach risks massively diluting the value of their own “certification” system/sections. There is a massive variety in quality between the LinkedIn ‘courses’ in terms of what value I would put on the “credential”. Ultimately these certificates, just like Moodle educators wanting a certificate, are just likely to be used to raise someone’s profile in search and/or add something to a CV – both examples of surface learning with no real judgment on knowledge or skill.

Author: iangardnergb

My name is Ian Gardner and I am interested in various topics that can be seen as related to learning, technology and information. To see what I am reading elsewhere, follow me on The Old Reader (I.gardner.gb) and/or Twitter (@iangardnergb).

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