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My Love Affair With the CPLP


Thu May 26 2016

My Love Affair With the CPLP

Facilitation is an art form, and it is the love of my life. 

To be part of an experience that has a fundamental mission of allowing others to grow will forever inspire me. I truly enjoy helping people, particularly young people, explore places that are only discovered through intentional and careful implementation of learning opportunities. 


As a professional development manager of a nonprofit in the out-of-school time (OST) field, it is essential that I attain the knowledge and skills necessary to empower the workforce and continue to professionalize the industry. The OST field consists of youth development professionals who work with youth outside of the regular school day. This includes afterschool programming, summer camps, and community-based organizations. It is an evolving profession, and there is an increasing focus on preparing practitioners to meet the needs of a changing field. To underscore my determination for excellence in the OST field, I decided to pursue the Certified Professional in Learning and Performance (CPLP) designation. 

After receiving the green light to begin the CPLP expedition, I jumped in right away by taking the practice CPLP test so that I could determine where I stood before beginning a study plan. As it turned out, I knew more than I gave myself credit for, but I still had some work to do. I decided to join a CPLP study group and signed up for resources that allowed me to approach the task at hand in a more casual way (using flashcards, games, and application exercises to learn the material). I focused on the end result and studied based on what my schedule would permit. Despite popular belief, it is possible for work and play to co-exist! 

The tempo of the CPLP Knowledge Exam is swift; it requires you to blend quick thinking and application flawlessly. It’s the ultimate challenge of preparation meets task at hand, and you must pay extremely close attention to detail. I often found myself between two responses, one answer pulling slightly ahead toward being correct. 

As I moved through the last series of prompts, my heart pounded as I waited to meet my fate. I stared at the screen and saw the word: pass. I squealed! Out loud. You know, the kind of high-pitched squeal that is indicative of long-awaited relief. 

The congratulatory messages flowed in during the weekend, and then reality called me out of the waiting room promptly on Monday morning: “The Work Product is ready to meet with you now, you may go in.” The Work Product—the project that would require putting theory to action, that is supposed to demonstrate that you actually know what you are doing. I was torn between uncanny optimism and an unshakable feeling of impending doom. 


I calmed my nerves and buckled down to prepare, choosing a project that I had designed myself. 

Finally, in the end, I was successful! My professional experiences had prepared me for the triumph of obtaining the CPLP; chances are, so have yours. If you are thinking of going on the CPLP adventure, I humbly pass along these few pointers to keep in your back pocket: 

  • Know the why. Have a clear objective for achieving the CPLP. As Friedrich Nietzsche said, “If you know the why, you can live any how.” 

  • Work your style. I used a nonlinear approach and worked closer to the deadline. I used my strengths to drive the progress, and worked with an end goal in mind. I used various methods to support my personal preferences. 

  • Choose the AOE you love for your Skills Application Exam (the replacement for the Work Product). Let your hands-on practitioner experience and expertise shine through. 

Learn more about the CPLP Certification.

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