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My APTD Journey: Developing One Competency at a Time


Mon Mar 22 2021

My APTD Journey: Developing One Competency at a Time

Like many professionals I have been lucky enough to achieve the alphabet soup of credentials to display at the end of my professional signature. Time and again, I find myself putting my APTD certification as the only certification I list in every signature. I built towards the certification one competency at a time, based on the organization’s needs and with immense support from my employers.

Instructional Design Competency

My first exposure to ATD was the Instructional Design certificate course. At the time, my employer was expanding our training programs and would benefit from applying design learning methodologies. I was working on a grant that focused on performance improvement for ambulatory healthcare settings. It was clear the performance improvement focus of the grant was one piece of a larger puzzle. Informally I had been completing an analysis of the training need and needed to learn the next steps in the ADDIE model; design, development, implementation and evaluation. In the course I learned two essential takeaways:

  • Not to assume training is the answer to a problem. As someone without a background in sales, the analysis phase of the ADDIE model was immensely helpful. By completing the analysis, it was clear that training is the right answer to their problem. There was no longer a need for me to convince the client to spend resources when in fact the data from the analysis told the story. With my new instructional design skills, the stress I experienced in my job was alleviated.

  • Design learning is a very creative process and allowed me to puzzle together innovative learning strategies and solve problems for organizations. This type of work has always intrigued me and I feel rewarded with the work I do. I easily transitioned my mindset from trainings as tedious work to trainings as fun!

Training Delivery Competency

Eighteen months later I found myself thrust into the training delivery role. Although I was able to design and develop valuable and engaging trainings, my introverted personality left me exhausted and depleted at the conclusion of each training. Once again, I asked my employer for support to complete the designation master training program with ATD. They willingly encouraged me to complete the course and helped me develop a plan for applying my new skills in the workplace. The practical and hands on experience within the training has been the most valuable designation I have received. When I feel rusty, I re-watch my training video, I open my master trainer manual to read helpful tips and I connect with my peers from the training. I shifted from ineffective training delivery skills to leveraging my existing strengths as a trainer and since have become a sought after training delivery professional.

Learning Technologies Competency

Fast forward to 2018, many training models are shifting to virtual learning. My company's training programs began to secure more contracts across the nation and found that e-learning was the best method for delivery due to the reduced total cost of training and on-demand nature for the clients. Rather than tack on another certificate, I wanted credentials that truly demonstrated my deep understanding of the APTD competencies as a whole. Over the course of 6 months, I began extensive self-study, took the practice exams and connected with study groups on LinkedIn. My exhaustive and length prep left me feeling as prepared as I could for the day of the final exam.

In a virtual COVID-19 world, the APTD certification easily is the most applicable professional experience for my current work. The timing of my certification put me a step ahead of my colleagues and has opened new career opportunities for me. As my career has evolved and advanced, the one certification I choose to renew and maintain is my APTD certification. I am frequently asked about the competencies I have as an APTD professional and asked to support contracts as a SME. I cannot recommend the APTD certification enough.

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