Why Certifications are important in Education
Certification refers to the confirmation of certain characteristics, whether it is in a person, an object, an organisation or a product. It demonstrates qualities that stand out from the crowd; that portray achievement and leadership.
At the recent EdTech conference, one of the themes that came out was that there is an increasing need for certification in education. Freemium models can provide you with almost limitless content – an “all you can learn” approach. However, if you want access to specialist education or an opportunity to gain specific skills, these are premium services. As with any premium service, you have to pay for it. And when you’re paying for something, you want to feel assured that what you’re buying is of high quality and will meet your needs. Certifications are a way of doing this. Given the importance of education, the value of certification within the field becomes clear.
Let’s look at Coursera as an example. They aim to provide universal access to education and offer the opportunity to study various courses offered by Universities around the world. What’s more, they offer this access for free. This means that anyone can take the courses online, which is great news, right? Absolutely. However, in order to receive formal recognition for your work in the form of a verified certification (i.e. something tangible), you have to pay for it. This is because certifications are valuable: You can learn all you want, but if you want people to know about it, you’ve got to be certified.
Using educational apps as an example, there are currently over 200,000 out there. With the market set to grow, it might become more difficult to find high quality educational apps due simply to the magnitude of availability. However, if you see an app that has been certified, you know immediately you are looking at a quality product. This makes the search easier for teachers and/or parents. It’s the same if you’re a student looking for a course that will help them get to where they want to be in their career. Certifications will aid a shift away from the all-you-can-learn mentality to a quality-focussed, relevant approach; which is vital in education.