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Digital micro-credentials for upskilling and reskilling in the vocational sector: A study on the potential use of a blockchain-based ICT system for micro-credentials in Sweden
Linnaeus University, Faculty of Technology, Department of Informatics.
2022 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (One Year)), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Sustainable development
SDG 4: Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all
Abstract [en]

Blockchain technology has gained ground as a method of independently and securely verifying transaction receipts of educational credentials so they can connect directly to individual digital wallets. Challenges in this transformation include the risk of dilution of value in existing credentials and the risk of duplicating structures. Internationally, several studies and pilots are ongoing. The EU is currently actively working to promote the development of digital micro-credentials with both initiatives and standards recommendations. Nationally in Sweden, government initiatives aim to bring the entire national digital infrastructure together to improve support for lifelong professional learning. Industrial stakeholders, academic education and vocational educational organizations are documented having partly overlapping, partly different needs and requirements. The purpose of this master’s thesis research is to describe the potential use of a blockchain-based ICT system for digital micro-credentials in vocational education, and what would be the desired characteristics of providing such a system from the perspective of stakeholder decision-makers on the governmental, commercial, and educational level. For this, interpretive qualitative research has been conducted. The data was collected through documents review of governmental and policy documents from the EU and Sweden, and individual interviews with seven participants among key stakeholder organizations (vocational institutions, commercial organizations, and government agencies representatives). The collected data was analyzed thematically. The analysis of the collected data was thematically structured into five themes and discussed in the context of the research aim and research question, using the proposed theoretical framework, including structuration theory. 

Findings showed that challenges on the macro-level perspective dominated the potential uses and desired characteristics, explicitly the need for a solution that can bridge the gap between industry needs and formal education. The need for a technical solution that can create interoperability between different forms of micro-credentials and credentials was highlighted. A solution with the individual in focus would be a major shift that could improve individuals’ potential to plan careers, enable employers to improve recruitment processes, and strengthen the Swedish government actors in skills and educational planning on the national and regional level. The key to these uses would be the ability to build trust between parties and connect such a technological solution to existing structures such as the European Qualification Framework’s Swedish implementation (SeQF). The research contributes theoretically by adding to the rather limited research on blockchain use for micro-credentials in education, and practically by presenting the context and landscape of the Swedish system of vocational education and training in relation to the potential use of digital micro-credentials.                      

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2022. , p. 61
Keywords [en]
Information Systems, Information and Communication Technology, Blockchain, Credentials, Micro-credentials, Education Records, Education Records Management, Vocational Education, Qualitative Research, Swedish Education System, Lifelong Learning.
National Category
Information Systems, Social aspects
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-115173OAI: oai:DiVA.org:lnu-115173DiVA, id: diva2:1681162
Subject / course
Informatics
Educational program
Master Programme in Information Systems, 60 credits
Supervisors
Examiners
Available from: 2022-07-06 Created: 2022-07-06 Last updated: 2022-07-06Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
  • apa
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Language
  • de-DE
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Output format
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