EU Science Hub

OpenCred: exploring issues around the recognition of non-formal learning via MOOCs in Europe

OpenCred was a study on the credentialisation and recognition of non-formal, open learning in Europe which was carried out between June 2014 and November 2015 by the IPTS in collaboration with the former Institute for Learning Innovation, University of Leicester. It was designed to support the OpenEdu Project of the IPTS, which on behalf of DG EAC, proposes strategies for higher education institutions to open up education. OpenCred was based on qualitative research, namely desk research and in-depth interviews, aiming to raise main issues that students, HE institutions and employers face in the credentialisation and recognition of non-formal, open learning. Six in-depth interviews were carried out in OpenCred: two with MOOC teachers from higher education institutions, two with staff from employer bodies and two with MOOC learners. This triangulated data collection method aimed at increasing the understanding of all perspectives involved when credentialisation of non-formal learning via MOOCs, as well as recognition, are concerned. The research found no examples of entire degree recognition for open learning in higher education institutions. Also, it showed that for the institutions analysed, current practices with MOOCs and recognition of open learning are experimental, aimed at learning from and experiencing these new opportunities for modernising their educational offer. The main motivation for the learners interviewed was to learn something new or to improve existing knowledge. Certification was not the main goal but would provide an important added value. Formal certification based on robust assessment was seen as key for the employer organisations consulted.