CPLP Study Group – Downhill from Here!

Today our Cascadia Chapter’s first CPLP study group wrapped up and I must say it was a awesome! We have been working as a group for the last three months and all five participants aced the exam this week!

During today’s session, they composed their CPLP Elevator Speeches, which they will continue to refine and personalize. That way, when someone asks them what a CPLP is and why it’s important, they will be prepared with a succinct, compelling answer. The rest of the session was well spent as Kerri, my co-facilitator, walked us through the Candidate Bulletin’s Chapter 4, which contains the requirements for the Designing Learning work product. The section is 28 pages long and can be intimidating, but Kerri was able to break it down for us and make connections between the various sections. When you take it a piece at a time, it’s not too bad.

The group members decided to continue meeting throughout the summer as they prepare their work products for a September 1 submission deadline. They will review each others work and provide valuable feedback. Kerri and I have been invited to attend when we can. It is fantastic to see professionals so supportive of each other.

I am honored to be a member of this noble profession. Trainers everywhere – I salute you. You inspire me and make me proud to work among you.



Find Your Niche and Capture It!

Okay, I am officially a fan of a woman named Trish Uhl. I think she’s brilliant. If you go to http://www.cplpcoach.com/, you’ll find the site for her company, Owl’s Ledge, LLC. Another section of this company’s site is found at http://cplpstudyprep.net/index.htm. The company was created expressly for the purpose of supporting CPLP candidates. I’ll say it again – brilliant.

Trish identified a need in the market: a new nationwide certification that is as comprehensive as it is new and mysterious.

Why, there would be people, many, many people, who would need guidance and tools when preparing for this new and often overwhelming certification. BINGO!! That is Marketing 101 – identify your target market. Trish and her cohorts have done that beautifully, and I admire the forethought and creativity they used.

So, what does all this have to do with anything? Many of us feel we are “stuck” in dead-end careers – victims of circumstance. I hold the group at Owl’s Ledge, LLC, up as an example that, by simply paying attention and using some ingenuity, you and I can find our niche. We can create opportunities for ourselves that benefit others. We can take control of our destiny and chart the course of our own career journey.

My only question to Trish would be…why “Owl’s Ledge”…? Hmmmm…’tis a puzzlement…


CPLP Study Group is Underway!

Over the weekend I partnered with the other CPLP in Oregon, Kerri Nussbaum, to facilitate the first session of our ASTD-Cascadia Chapter study group. It was awesome! So invigorating to be in the company of other training folks who are passionate about their profession!

We’ll be meeting for 12 sessions over the next 14 weeks (skipping two holiday weekends). Our method is to use prework to have the participants research the topics for each upcoming session. When we’re together, we’ll discuss the info the group discovered and then Kerri and I will fill in any gaps. It’s critical that we use adult learning techniques (ummm, the same ones that we’re discussing in the certification) as opposed to straight lecture. As this is a study group, our mission is to focus the study of the participants and clarify that which may be unclear.

We have such a vibrant and enthusiastic group, I’m looking forward to learning from them as we go. I’m in “lifelong learner heaven!”

CPLP Work Product

cplp_logo_100.gifAs I mentioned previously, to earn the CPLP certification one must not only pass a comprehensive knowledge exam but also submit a work product. At the time I was going through the process, there were only three Areas of Expertise (AOEs) for which I could submit a work product. Now, candidates may choose from six:

  1. Designing Learning
  2. Delivering Training
  3. Improving Human Performance
  4. Measuring and Evaluating
  5. Facilitating Organizational Change
  6. Managing the Learning Function

I chose to submit my work product for Designing Learning, as I had recently creating learning modules for a new hire training program. I had to submit materials that represented 90 minutes of learning activities, so I chose a portion of a module on monetary transactions for tellers.

The requirements for the work product of each AOE varies; the requirements for Designing Learning include documentation supporting:

  • training analysis
  • design process
  • learning events

The materials submitted must demonstrate usage of the “Key Actions” for the AOE as outlined in the requirements document. Examples of the “Key Actions” for Designing Learning are:

  • Applies cognition and adult learning theory
  • Conducts a needs assessment
  • Designs a curriculum or program
  • Integrates technology options
  • Evaluates learning design

The work product documentation must clearly demonstrate these and the other “Key Actions” through inclusion of the project management plans, needs assessment and evalutation documents, and the participant and instructor materials. As you can imagine, it is quite a feat to gather and properly identify all of these components. There are labeling requirements and several forms to be completed, including one where candidates identify where in the work product the reviewers can find the various required elements.

As part of the work product submission process, candidates are emailed two “follow-on” questions specific to the chosen AOE. These questions are designed to determine if the candidate has the ability to apply knowledge and skills to new situations and respond appropriately. The questions may or may not pertain to the actual product being submitted. In other words, the question may ask the candidate to respond to a concern raised by a stakeholder for the product or to address implementation of the product in another unit within his or her company. Or, the questions may be totally unrelated to the work product being submitted. Here is a sample follow-on question from the CPLP Candidate Bulletin:

“Your project was designed for an organization. A merger between that organization and a multi-national organization has occurred. You are asked to redesign the project to meet the needs of the newly merged employees, while creating a new corporate culture from the two organizations. Describe what you will do and how you will do it.”

This example requires the candidate to address their work product project in a changing context, which will demonstrate application of concepts covered by the AOE. Whew!

As you can tell, properly preparing a work product for successful submission requires a lot of detail-oriented work. Although the instructions provided by the Certification Institute may have improved since the time I used them, they can still be somewhat challenging, especially when one feels the pressure of a deadline. If you have questions about what worked for me during my preparation, I would be happy to share my experience. Just ask!

What is CPLP, Anyway?

If you’re in the training and development field like me, you have probably heard about our new certification – Certified Professional in Learning and Performance (CPLP). This credential designates the earner as having not only knowledge of various human performance and development topics but also the ability to apply that knowledge. A difference between our certification and the PHR/SPHR of our HR colleagues is that once we pass the exam, we are only halfway there. We must go on to submit a work product – more on that later.

 The certification covers nine “areas of expertise” (AOEs):

  1. Designing Learning
  2. Delivering Training
  3. Improving Human Performance
  4. Measuring and Evaluating
  5. Facilitating Organizational Change
  6. Managing the Learning Function
  7. Coaching
  8. Managing Organizational Knowledge
  9. Career Planning and Talent Management

To prepare for the certification, you can purchase the ASTD Learning System, which is a astdsystem.jpgcollection of reference books covering each of the AOEs. I used the kit during my own preparation and created flashcards, one for each learning objective. (I ended up with several hundred of them!) Since then, ASTD “stole”<grin> my idea and now markets its own set of flashcards. astdcards.jpgIf I had to do it again, most likely I would purchase the flashcards and then use the internet to research the topics.

I did find the online practice exam very valuable and would recommend it to every candidate. You can order it through the ASTD Certification Institute site.

There are so many more resources available now then when I was preparing. If you respond well to working and studying with others, you can join a study group. The ASTD-Cascadia chapter is piloting a group for the upcoming May-June exam window.

A group called Owl’s Ledge has a website full of resources – most require membership (for a monthly fee) but several are free. I especially like their puzzles!

I think the most important piece of advice I can offer is to set a study schedule and allow plenty of time. I took my test in October and began my preparation in July, creating a schedule that allowed about one week per AOE plus some review time. I knew if I didn’t set some structure around my studying the time would fly by and I would suddenly be in “cram mode,” which doesn’t work well for me.

In my next posting, I’ll discuss the work product. Until then, I’d love to hear from those of you who are currently preparing for the exam or who have questions about it.

Preparing for Certification?

You’ve been in the training and development field for several years now. You are intimately familiar with adult learning theory, Mr. Maslow and his hierarchy, and the taxonomy of Bloom. Or at least you know how to use the principles, even if you may not be able to identify them.

You are in the same position as I was in 2006 when I first heard about ASTD’s new CPLP certification. CPLP stands for Certified Professional in Learning and Performance.  Just like you, I had been in the T&D field for numerous years and had been doing the work that is described in the certification outline. So, why bother to become certified?

I believe this to be a very personal decision, and I gladly share with you my reasoning.

I have been working on completing my bachelor’s degree for more than 20 years. You know the deal – working parent, barely time to sleep, no time for class – many of you can relate. In the last few years I have felt my lack of degree has become a barrier to moving on to the next level in my career. So, while I am currently three-quarters of the way through my degree and will be done with it by this time next year (hooray!), I felt the CPLP certification would give me some validation now that I am indeed a competent training professional.

I am proud to be the second person in Oregon to have achieved this certification, and encourage you to pursue it if you consider it to be valuable. If indeed you are planning to take the exam in the one of the upcoming testing windows, you’ll want to begin preparing now. As you do so, I’m happy to be a resource for you – sometimes it can really help to bounce ideas off of someone who has been there!