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CPLP: A Little Bit of Planning Goes a Long Way


Mon Jul 13 2015

CPLP: A Little Bit of Planning Goes a Long Way-5e4ae9e75eedb89edb857c6addc1e65bae954f112acbcdb852976d7a93940f77

The process of obtaining the coveted Certified Professional in Learning and Performance (CPLP) certification is by no means easy. No wonder it is such a respected, valuable certification. Having said that, though, becoming a CPLP is very much achievable—with discipline and a little bit of planning.

My CPLP journey started during a team meeting, when our manager said we should consider obtaining this certification. She encouraged us to read about it and get back to her. The decision to obtain the certification was left to us; it was not a mandatory requirement by our organization.


During that time, I was extremely busy working on an innovative new hire orientation program and had no time to research the CPLP. Instead, some of my colleagues researched the CPLP and shared the details with me. We decided as a team to pursue the CPLP certification.

Busy with my project, I did not have time to look into what I needed in order to become a CPLP. I obtained the ATD study material and was aware that the certification process had two parts—the Knowledge Exam and the Work Product. Most of my colleagues selected the September-October window for their Knowledge Exam. I selected the last window, November-December, because I wanted to make sure that I had time to study for the Knowledge Exam. I had ample time, but I did not plan well. Procrastination got the better of me. It was not until October that I opened the study material and realized that I had a mammoth task to deal with—studying 10 chapters totaling about 700 pages in less than two months!

With no time to waste, I dedicated myself to preparing for the Knowledge Exam, and set aside four hours each day for studying. I would highly recommend the ATD study materials. They helped me pass the Knowledge Exam, and I gained important perspectives on instructional design. I also took the practice CPLP exam to gauge my comfort level with the test structure and content. I wouldn’t take the test more than two or three times, however. The questions remain the same, so if you take them several times (which I did), you end up memorizing the answers, and that is not much help. After I studied all the chapters in depth, I reviewed each of them once again one week before the test, which proved to be very helpful.

After I passed the Knowledge Exam, I started looking at the requirements of the Work Product; by then, I had hardly any time left before the submission date. I realized I had made a huge mistake by not thinking about it earlier. I did have several projects that I had worked on, but I was not sure which project would be a perfect fit. I thought I might have to postpone my Work Product submission, but then I realized that the new hire orientation project I had worked on earlier in the year might meet the requirements. However, had I seen the requirements earlier on, I could have worked on the project with my CPLP certification in mind. This would have been beneficial to me as well as to the project.

Even though I could have planned for the CPLP better, I am still glad I went through the process. I learned a lot about the talent development field as I prepared for the certification. I am an instructional designer who learned the tricks of the trade on the job, and I do not have any formal training in the discipline. However, as I prepared for the CPLP, I realized that all 10 areas of expertise are interconnected. It is important for training professionals to have knowledge of all these areas, even though they may have built their expertise in one area.


Overall, here are my two tips for those who want to become a CPLP:

  • Study, study, study for the Knowledge Exam; there’s no shortcut to it.

  • Start preparing for the Work Product the moment you register for the certification, or even when you are thinking about registering.

Learn more about the CPLP Certification.

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