Short and flexible programs, but deep and rigorous turn into trend.

For: Daniel Santiago

Those who find it difficult to study a master’s degree because it involves a considerable investment of time and money, now have a shorter, more economical and adaptable alternative to the new needs of continuous training, micromasters.

For a few years now, these one-year short programs have started to be a trend in the world.

The edX platform offers programs designed by top universities, such as MIT, Columbia University and Penn University. In Latin America, the Tec de Monterrey has already started its first micrometry, the “Negotiation and leadership”, which represents 25 percent or three courses of the master’s degree in business administration offered by the institution. “At first, a micrometer seemed like a small course, but when you analyze it is like taking a subject from a master and analyzing it thoroughly,” says Rafael Pontón, a 34-year-old administration and accounting professional, who from Cuenca, Ecuador, take the Tec program. “My disadvantage is that no matter how much I have three, four or five micromasters, I will not have the certification (official in Ecuador), but that is not what I need. People always seek access to guaranteed programs, but there are also people like me who are looking for knowledge. “Micromasters offer the advantages of other online courses: flexibility to carry out activities in the student’s time and place, but with more depth and the rigorous scheduling established by a formal program.

The Tec decided to focus its first micromaster on soft skills or soft skills, because it represents one of the urgent needs and of greater future demand in organizations, explains José Escamilla, director of TecLabs, the office that designed the program together with the Egade Tec Business School and Ternium. “There is still a lot of work to be done,” explains the manager, “the model is quite recent and we have to look for companies and the general public to understand what a micromaster is. “It is part of the microcredit trend, why only the postgraduate or the bachelor degree? There must be another way to have these skills or competences that allow you to insert yourself into the working world, and that have recognition in the world of work.” Whoever takes this micromaster finally gets the certification of skills, says Escamilla, at the same time that he takes a first step towards a complete mastery program, in case he decides to continue. “Having the micro-credential will help me apply to other postgraduate programs,” says Ruy Pérez Callejas, a dental surgeon in the Port of Veracruz who is also attending the program. Most of the 11,332 students enrolled in Mexico. There are also in Colombia, Peru, Spain, Argentina and Ecuador, reported the Tec.

For Jacobo Murrieta Aguirre, a sociologist who lives in Toluca, this micromaster adapts to his times and interests. However, he sees as weakness the lack of more specialized accompaniment. “They open a chat so that you give your opinion, but almost always it is between students, there is no feedback from the people who made the program or someone who is aware that they can mediate the conversations”. The opposite is the opinion of Pontón, for whom the interaction between peers in these forums is part of the wealth offered by this program. “One of the most important things in the micromaster is peer work that I like the most, because it is one thing to talk with a colleague who lives in the same city or the same country that has the same geopolitical, sociological situation, someone who does not know you who lives in a very different condition, and with a punctual criterion about something “. The plans of the Tec are to expand the range of options of micromaster. They are already working with edX and with Coursera to offer short programs on education and energy issues.

More info: