Is Being Overwhelmed Required?

What can we expect of learning professionals?

Clark Quinn provides a comprehensive look at what defines professionalism for L&D practitioners in his blog post,  What is a true L&D professional? Litmos Blog.

Having just completed ATD’s Certified Professional in Learning and Performance (CPLP) process, this topic is obviously fresh in my mind.

On one level, I completely agree with Clark regarding the

atd competency model
ATD Competency Model 

extensive list of components required of a competent practitioner of L&D.  A revelation that became very real for me as I studied for the two exams required of candidates for the CPLP is the breadth of knowledge that is required in our field just to do our jobs.  The ATD Competency Model spans 10 areas of expertise which extend beyond the 6 foundational competencies.

 

While it may not fill every component in Clark’s list, it’s close.  and I can attest to how overwhelming it is in its scope.  The Knowledge Exam covers all 10 Areas of Expertise.  The study guide, The CPLP Learning System, is 1000 pages jam-packed with the information expected of a CPLP to know.  The approach to the Skills Application Exam is an attempt to expand upon the working knowledge of candidates as well as to test the understanding of the processes L&D professionals use in their work.

 

 

I’ll admit, there is room for improvement in the process for the CPLP, I believe it is in the right direction for credentialing professionals in our field.  It is extensive, comprehensive, overwhelming, and exhausting.

On the other hand, I disagree with Clark on two points.  The first is a factual error.  He states that “L&D may not have continuing education requirements like accounting, law, and medicine”.  At least in the case of the CPLP, I am required to earn 60 recertification points in a 3 year period to maintain my status as a CPLP.  I believe that Training Industry’s CPTM certification also has a continuing education requirement.  Whether these are as rigorous as accounting, law, and medicine may be debatable, the statement that there is no continuing education requirement in L&D is false.

Clark also maintains that L&D professionals must maintain a current knowledge in all of the components of Knowledge and Process just like professionals in accounting, law, and medicine.  I maintain that this is a strawman argument based on a misunderstanding of the actual practice in these other fields.  To become a CPA, pass the Bar, or be certified as an MD, candidates must demonstrate a comprehensive knowledge of vasts amount of information across the broad spectrum of their fields.

But, it is my experience, once an accountant earns their CPA, most specialize in a particular area – auditing, taxation, or forensic accounting and often lose track of other areas of specialization.  A tax accountant is more than likely going to make a referral to a forensic accountant if there is a disputed estate to be detailed for a court than they are to take on that client.  That’s ethical and professional.

To maintain that L&D professionals are responsible to know everything about every aspect of our field so that they can “practice” every aspect, seems wrong.  It also reflects a long-held practice of “we have to do everything to prove our worth” that I believe has harmed our field in the eyes of our business partners.

There is no way that any professional can know everything about their field on an ongoing basis.  Just as a doctor who maintains a family medicine practice will provide referrals to specialists for a colonoscopy or oncology care, it would be professional for an instructional designer to seek the assistance of a learning analytics specialist to help design a data strategy to gather the right data needed or to do big data analysis.

Overwhelming a certification candidate in the evaluation process is one thing, but to demand that learning and performance professionals live in a constant state of being overwhelmed in neither professional nor ethical.

What do you think?  How much do learning professionals need to know to be certified?  Do they need to maintain that broad knowledge on an ongoing basis? or is specialization after certification, like accountants, doctors, and lawyers acceptable?  Please comment in the space provided below.

Featured image provided by Mikito Tateisi on Unsplash.

 

Dave Lee, CPLP

This morning I had an email from ATD.  It took a little bit of courage to click on that message.  Would I find out that I’m now a Certified Professional in Learning in Performance?  Or would I have to start studying again?

Well, obviously from the featured image and title of this blog, I passed.  YAY!  WHEW!

Months and months of studying, the 1000 pages of the ATD Learning System (thankfully in digital form),  120+ Mindmeister mindmaps, 14 weeks in a virtual study group, practice tests and quizzes, and lots and lots of stress provided to be successful.

®What Is CPLP®?
The Certified Professional in Learning and Performance (CPLP) is a certification for talent development professionals offered by the ATD Certification Institute (ATD CI). The credential is broad based and measures a talent development professionals’ competency in 10 areas of expertise (AOEs) with a focus on global mindset as defined by the latest ATD Competency Model.  – The CPLP Handbook.

A year and a half after deciding on this goal, I’m happy for this achievement and grateful to my huge village that helped me achieve it.

First off, thank you to the Chicagoland Chapter of ATD for the scholarship they awarded me to help pay the costs.  As a whole everyone with ATD Chi was supportive and helpful throughout the process, but Tom WestAnthony Dudek, and Bill Cupuro were standouts.  Thank you, guys!

There was a special group of 14 friends who helped me out just as I was contemplating taking on this process.  Their kindness changed the game for me and was an inspiration when the hours and days of studying were grinding on me.

I participated in the Spring/Summer 2017 Virtual Study Group sponsored by the ATD Rocky Mountain chapter (along with several other chapters).  The format was very helpful not only in learning the content, but it kept me on schedule during the intense Knowledge Exam preparation.  After the Knowledge Exam, this group was a source of support and inspiration.  A special call out to Roberto Montanez who became my study buddy all the way through the process.  Congrats Roberto!

Trish Uhl was there with good advice when I was contemplating certifications, as I prepared for the Knowledge exam, guidance about the SAE, and at the very end, a reassuring voice to a very nervous candidate.  Her Owl’s Ledge materials were instrumental in my success.  In the process she’s become a friend and mentor.

There were dozens and dozens of friends and colleagues who supported me with encouragement, coffee, meals, and willing ears for a topic they generally new little about.

Was it all worth it?  I think so.  The statistics show that it should help in my career and earning potential.  But for me those four letters I can put behind my name in professional venues attest to a career’s worth of knowledge and actions that has real value to my profession.

Dave Lee, CPLP.

I like the feel of that.