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January 2008
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March 2008

Certification Gets Social!

Here's a group who's documenting their creation of an industry certification program through a blog.  This one's pretty basic, but the possibilities are endless.  What a great way to be transparent (and informative) with members of a profession about the development process...and I could see how there would be easy opportunities for engaging and seeking input along the way. 

I've actually now found 6 blogs sponsored by certifying agencies (plus many more by candidates/certificants).  I've also found several social networking groups of certified individuals and/or applicants...and several videos on YouTube.  Certifying agencies are finally starting to get social!   I'll point you to many of these in upcoming posts.  Blogs, videos, and online communities are outstanding marketing opportunities for you; don't discount them!

Course Evaluation

In today's Learning Trends, Elliott Masie suggests a new twist on face-to-face course evaluation. Instead of the traditional smiley sheet, he suggests you "Ask your learners to, in small groups, re-design the program.  Give them 10 minutes and ask them to do a rapid re-design of the Sequence, Scope and Activities in the class."

This approach sounds like a great one for limited attendance seminars - much more engaging and meaningful....but what about big multi-session conferences?  I think it'd be a great experiment to use an online community site post conference to do the same activity.

Being Certified Can Make a Statement...But That's Not Always Good

I was wondering how long it would take for someone to respond to my last post and point out that certification for certification professionals does exist (it took about an hour).  Let me just say, Buyer Beware.  There is a secret club operating that "certifies" certification professionals.  Why do I say secret club? 

1) Try to find them on the Web.  Even if you know the organization's name, good luck.  They do not have a branded url or even a branded e-mail.  I can't imagine wanting to be associated with (much less certified by) a group that is not established (or professional) enough to have its own e-mail.  I mean, seriously, would you have confidence in ASAE & The Center if John's email was [email protected]

2) Several of my certification consultant colleagues have tried to attend this group's events, but have been flatly turned away (competition, you see, because this group also provides consulting services to their "members").  In fact, if you read the organization's articles, they often interchange the terms clients and members.  But, why should you care as long as you're getting something valuable out of the relationship?  Well, that brings me to another point...

I've read the book (collection of e-newsletter articles) that serves as the certification exam primer.  First, it was written in the early 90s.   Second, much of the content is questionable, at best.  Bottom line: be careful about what you read.  Just because something is authored by an official-sounding organization, that does not mean it's good stuff.   

And, back to the certification certifications.  It brings up an interesting point.  Can having a certification be a liability?  Yes!  When I see someone with one of the certification certifications, my impression is not positive.  Having a certification can make a statement; be careful that statement is the one you intended to make.

Isn't it ironic...

that the certification industry does not offer certification for any of its professional roles?  Don't get me wrong, I'm not advocating that it should.  I do not believe certification is necessary or advantageous for every industry, much less every role within an industry.  However, I do find it ironic that the field that advocates for and identifies best practices for certification does not certify any role.  Just a random thought from a hotel room in Denver... 

Certification Finder

Here's a great resource.  CareerOneStop has a Workforce Credentials Information Center which includes a Certification Finder service.  Check it out to 1) ensure your program is listed and/or 2) check out your competition.  Although I didn't do a thorough analysis, I spot-checked a few of my client's certifications and the information was accurate.  (Greg, happy to report the CAE is there.)