Taking the Plunge – My CPLP Journey
Back in 2005, I heard about this new certification program being piloted by ASTD called the CPLP. Since many of my friends had already obtained ISPI’s CPT designation, I thought I’d check out the CPLP. I joined the first ever study group in Atlanta. At that time, there were no study materials, nothing to purchase for help, and no books. There were categories and sample test questions – but that was it. I attended all the study groups, did all the work, and almost made it to test day. Two weeks before my scheduled test I had a personal tragedyand cancelled my test.
Now, six years later, I’ve decided to pick up where I left off. I’m going to blog about my journey toward CPLP designation. Maybe a few people can use my experience to determine for themselves if they want to pursue this certification.
The CPLP is a certification for Workplace Learning Professionals offered by ASTD National. It is based on an extensively researched model shown here.
The model identifies the roles, areas of expertise, and foundational competencies for professionals in the learning and performance field.
Obtaining the certification consists of taking a 150 question application-based test on the 9 Areas of Expertise in the model plus submission of a work product that meets very specific standards.
Why Would I Want This?
There are a lot of reasons to pursue this certification. First, it’s nice to have letters behind your name. I’ve got the M.S. which was difficult to earn at night after work. Adding a CPLP after that will just make me seem even more qualified. Also, I’m starting to see CPLP pop up in job requirements on job postings.
Secondly, having a national certification moves Workplace Learning from a “job” to a “profession”. Think about it: You can’t just hang a shingle and proclaim yourself a medical doctor or a lawyer. These are “professions”. Right now, you can still hang a shingle and call yourself a trainer or an instructional designer, but this certification is the first step toward changing that.
Lastly, I don’t want to be the last one left without this certification! I’m frankly worried about reaching a point where I’m older, still seeking work, and not able to obtain it because I haven’t kept up with the times.
This journey will take me until at least February of 2012 to complete, so I’m going to blog about each step as I go. You can read about my excitement, frustrations, boredom, and other feelings and difficulties. Maybe next year a few of you might consider taking this journey yourself.
CPLP – The First Step:
So, my first step was to see if there was anything quick and easy this time for helping to prepare for the test.
First, I looked at ASTD.org for classes or materials they might offer. I’m also working on a budget since I’m personally financing this effort. Here’s what I found in my search:
- There is a free content outline for people who want to boot-strap their studies. (Hurray! Free!)
- There is a free “practice” exam so that you can gauge what you need to learn. (Hurray again!)
- CPLP “On Campus” is available in some markets – not Atlanta. They will help you prep your work product. No cost is listed which is scary.
- CPLP “Prep Online” is available asynchronously. It costs $1295. Yes, that’s right – $1295.
- There is an ASTD Learning System with books, flashcards, check your knowledge, and a digital flash drive. (Quite a bit more than we had in 2005.) However, the price tag is…..$1349.
- Area of Expertise Webcasts. This is a member-only benefit for ASTD National members. I assume that means free – so I plan to try these.
- CPLP Prep Workshop – a class offered by ASTD National. Cost – $1295. ….I’m starting to see a trend with the prices. Everything is either short and free or well designed and costly.
- CPLP Local Study Groups. I checked out the Atlanta area study group and – surprise – the Greater Atlanta Chapter of ASTD runs a multi-state, award winning study group. Cost….free. Let me double-check that. Free? (Hurray! Free!)
I’m sure you can guess which option I selected.
I quickly signed up for the free program in Atlanta. It’s lucky that I signed up quickly – the program filled up within one week and a waiting list was formed. The free program manager sent us a list of “to do’s” before our first meeting which included getting our own ASTD Learning System. Yikes – it’s $595. Luckily the group leaders suggest that you borrow the system if you’re able.
Next, we were all asked to attend an in-person kick off meeting for the study group. I attended that last night.
It was really fun to meet the other people that I’ll be studying with. The real benefit was all the people in the room that had already been through the process.
They shared their experiences with us so that we’d have a better idea on what to expect. We learned what our assignments would be, how to sign up for the test, how much time we should study, etc…
We are well organized through social media as well. We have a LinkedIn group where all announcements will be posted, we have all the documents needed posted on Google Docs, we have a twitter hashtag, and we will be meeting with other groups across the country every two weeks via WebEx.
So – that’s it for getting started on the journey. Next, I’m supposed to take a practice exam and assess where my knowledge gaps are. At my age, I’m worried that I may have lost my test taking skills. Therefore, I’ll be taking a lot of practice exams as I go. I’ll blog about this first test after I’ve finished.
- Time Spent to date: 3 hours
- Money Spent to date: $449 (ASTD Learning System with member discount)