Path to CPLP | Interview with Dave Lee and Eileen Terrell

February 28, 2018 11:05 AM | Olga Polyakova (Administrator)

ATDCHi's 2017 CPLP Scholarship Winners Dave Lee and Eileen Terrell share their experience of becoming CPLPs.

What was your motivation to pursue CPLP?

Dave: Honestly, I decided I wanted certification to demonstrate the knowledge and skills I have gained over my career. I chose the CPLP because it seems to have the most visibility among the various certifications. I chose the Managing Learning Programs SAE because my experience has been in managerial positions.

Eileen: I decided to pursue the CPLP after speaking with a couple of people that I met in the Fall 2016 Workplace Learning and Performance Institute (WLPI) session. I wasn’t sure how the CPLP would complement my existing education and experience. I have two Master’s Degrees and over 25 years as a Learning Professional. I spoke with several people that had received their CPLP credential and everyone had similar responses. It really enhanced their ability to broaden their conversations with their clientsn. So, I decided to pursue the CPLP to in order to expand my body of knowledge in others areas of Talent Development.

How did you study for the Knowledge Exam?

Dave: For me, studying for the KE was a challenge of time management and gauging what I knew and what I needed to learn.  The ATD practice test was vital in setting a baseline, checking me at midway, and final check two weeks before the test.  I also did the virtual study group by ATD Rocky Mountain.

Eileen: I partnered with one other person and we scheduled ongoing study sessions meeting face-to-face and virtually. We leveraged the ATD Learning System as our primary resource. We completed the quizzes and the practice exams. We also leveraged tips and suggestions mentioned in the book “Mastering the CPLP” by Trish Uhl, PMP, CPLP.

How was your experience taking the Knowledge Exam?

Eileen: This was straightforward. I made sure that I read each question slowly to understand what was being asked. Most of the questions were definitely written to assess comprehension versus just recall . Different terms were used than what was in The ATD Learning System, so you really needed to know the concept. Waiting for the results was the longest two minutes.

Dave: The KE was straight forward. Even with reviewing around 30 questions, I finished in 2 hours. My main tactic was to track questions that I “knew” I had correct.  As I worked through the test I could check to see how I was doing toward the 70+/-% passing score.  You can see more detail about my KE experience in One Down, One to Go.

And what about preparation for the Skills Application Exam?

Dave: This was far harder than studying for the Knowledge Exam. It took me several frustrating months to come to a process I felt comfortable with. See Keep Calm. Don’t Panic! for details. The key to my success was applying the Key Actions to my experience or creating scenarios where I hadn’t experienced the specific situations.

Eileen: This was very challenging as the case studies within the ATD Learning system contained the answers, so the value was really in the practice exams. I re-read my selected AOE a few times and reviewed the key actions. I also leveraged materials provided by Tish Uhl. The biggest takeaway is that although you select one AOE to focus on, your approach should be an integrated one. You can’t execute “one” AOE without considering others.

Tell us about taking the SAE

Eileen: This was super hard because of the integration of many AOEs at one time. My selected AOE, Instructional Design, still had me thinking about Training delivery, Learning Technologies, Global Mindset, and Evaluations. I really had to divide the time equally between all of the case studies and I used the entire three hours. You can’t focus on one AOE, it is important to consider all of the competencies.

Dave: Holy moly! This was the hardest test I’ve ever taken. I used all 3 hours. This test is about knowing how we work. It is about experience in the practice of managing learning programs. Best tactic, suggested by a colleague, was writing down target times for each case and each set of questions. Without this, I would likely have not completed the test.

And finally, how was waiting for and finding out the results?

Eileen: I tried to not to think about the results waiting for the 10 weeks to fly by. I focused on the experience and glad that I had gone through the process. Whether I had passed the SAE or not, I felt that I could have even better conversations with my clients. I felt 50/50 about passing. I told myself that if I didn’t pass, I would retake it as soon as administratively possible. Then the email came and I looked at it for a few hours because the subject line tells you nothing. I finally got the nerve up to open it, I passed. I now have the CPLP credential and I added those letters to my name with a sense of pride and accomplishment.

Dave: 10 weeks of wondering if I was done or if I would need to go back to studying. My tactic of tracking questions I had right for the SAE had me expecting I would be right on the pass/fail line. The email that came didn’t give specifics on score. I don’t know how close it was. But I passed. I’m a CPLP.

Congratulations, Dave and Eileen!

Consider becoming a CPLP in 2018? Reach out to Bill Cupuro to learn more about the certification, its benefits, and resources available for ATDChi members.


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