In order to cater to the lifelong learning demands of the whole country, it is necessary to expand lifelong learning channels, positively explore the construction of a credit bank, create the credit bank system model and "framework+standard", design the architecture for the Open University of China’s (OUC) credit bank system, and promote practical exploration.
The credit bank simulates the mechanisms, functions, and features of a normal bank. Using credits as the measurement unit, it classifies and grades the learning outcomes, and gives descriptions and a corresponding system of standards. It assesses the accreditation of various learning outcomes and realises the accumulation and transfer of learning outcomes.
Since 2012, the OUC has made a solid study on the credit bank, positively promoting pilot practice in various education fields. The Learning Outcomes Accreditation Alliance has been set up, which has promoted the establishment of the credit bank information platform. 70 learning outcomes accreditation sub-centres (accreditation sites) have been set up throughout China. Pilot projects for learning outcome accreditation between different types of education at different levels have been carried out, which has provided practical experience for a lifelong learning "bridge" at the national level. The construction model for the OUC’s credit bank is taking shape.
Learning Outcomes Framework
Design a system (with the learning outcomes framework as the core) and a technical path with the properties of “framework + standard", develop a series of accreditation tools (manuals) with independent intellectual property rights.
Learning Outcomes Accreditation Alliance
Set up the Learning Outcomes Accreditation Alliance, made up of 12 agencies, including six ministries and commissions, and six open universities. The credit bank information platform has been launched and is operating normally. Currently, 27 bodies have applied to join the platform, including higher vocational colleges, ordinary universities, industry enterprises, and training agencies.
Learning Outcomes Accreditation Centre
The OUC has set up one Learning Outcomes Accreditation Centre headquarters and 70 learning outcome accreditation sub-centres (accreditation sites), covering 31 provinces and cities, as well as 20 industries, with 4.5 million lifelong learning accounts. The accreditation, accumulation, and transfer of learning outcomes has been carried out among the practitioners and learners in various types of institutions.
The credit bank information platform consists of one website and three platforms: portal, working platform, service platform, and transaction platform. The platform features cloud architecture, cloud computing, cloud services, big data, credit security, and multi-terminal integration. Below are its main features:
(1) Provide policies, information, consultation, and information query services related to the credit bank.
(2) Set up and manage credit bank accounts and learning archives for students; carry out business services for the accreditation, accumulation, and transfer of learning outcomes; provide competence assessment and expert-led information services.
(3) Provide a unified management platform for the institutions, and set up a business handling window for the accreditation, accumulation, and transfer of learning outcomes.
(4) Provide a unified working platform for the business personnel of the learning outcomes accreditation service system and realise standardised management of tools.
(5) Provide data importing, review, and release of alliance institutions, learning outcomes, accreditation units, transfer rules, and expert information.
(6) Provide experts with communication and review services.
(7) Provide information-based means of supervision and risk assessment for the regulatory institutions.
The credit bank information platform was officially launched on 15th December 2015. Through the platform, mobile devices can access the credit bank portal, create a credit bank account, query basic information, browse relevant policies and news, and submit an application for the accreditation, accumulation, and transfer.
Undertake pilot work for the accreditation, accumulation, and transfer of continuing education learning outcomes entrusted by the MOE and win recognition from the MOE. The main tasks for the pilot project: work with local open universities, relevant industry colleges, universities, and training agencies to carry out pilot construction work for the continuing education learning outcomes framework, learning outcomes accreditation standards in various industries, the Learning Outcomes Accreditation Alliance, and a credit bank information management platform and accreditation service system. It is necessary to explore the accreditation, accumulation, and transfer of different types of learning outcomes.
On 15th December 2015, a pilot work promotion conference on the accreditation, accumulation, and transfer of continuing education learning outcomes was held in Beijing. Six open universities have initiated Unified Action Initiatives on Accelerating the Construction of the Credit Bank. This marked that China's system of continuing education learning outcomes accreditation, accumulation, and transfer has shifted from top-level design and partial exploration to the comprehensive pilot stage.
On 22nd April 2016, a project set-up and review conference on the accreditation, accumulation, and transfer of continuing education learning outcomes was held in Beijing. The review conference was held after the pilot work promotion conference. To further implement the spirit of the pilot working scheme approved by the MOE, and make the pilot projects more feasible and operable, the OUC has organised a review of the first batch of pilot projects. Twenty-nine units have declared 30 projects.
Written by Sun Fuwan, Edited by Yan Jingzhen, www.china.org.cn