In the conceptual phase, you build your case for developing and providing the credential(s), offering evidence that demonstrates the need for the credential(s).
Initial ideas – There are many reasons to create incremental credentials. The Incremental Credentialing Framework provides different approaches that can help formulate ideas. Ideas also can be generated by:
Talking with possible partners and others in the field.
Data analysis on learner attrition – When does this happen? When are typical points of attrition? What patterns seem to be emerging?
Trends in the field.
Environmental scan and background research – You need to know what is happening in the field before you can justify and implement your decision to go forward with the credential(s). With proper research, you can identify gaps and shifts in expected job markets; better understand expectations for education, training, and credentialing; and gain other information that can help shape your ideas.
Partnerships – Many incremental credentials are connected to other programs or to employment opportunities. How would your credential(s) be connected to other academic and non-academic programs? To employment? Who are the partners? How will you be working with these partners?
Connected initiatives – How does this credential connect to other initiatives within and outside your institution or organization? How does it fit the mission? How does it fit strategic planning?
Targeted audience – How will the credential(s) meet learners’ needs? What benefits will it bring to learners? The institution/organization? The partners?
Equity considerations – How does the credential(s) address equity imbalances? How does the credential(s) support all learners?
Needs statement – Why are you developing the credential(s)? What are some of your drivers? How can the credential be used? What would be missed if the credential(s) were not developed? How does it support the targeted audience? Those of institutions/organizations? Employers?