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ATD Blog

I Couldn’t Wait to Add CPLP to My Signature!

Friday, December 7, 2018

The first thing I did after I got word that I had earned my CPLP credential was to add it to my signature on my email and website. As a consultant in the learning profession, it is important that my clients know I am a continuous learner to be the best I can be for them. My clients were supportive and appreciated my efforts to secure the certification. It was indeed a proud moment to let them know I passed the evaluation of my professional peers.

With the CPLP behind my name, I believe it takes the conversation to a different level early on when speaking with clients and peer learning professionals. There is a respectful understanding of your knowledge and journey. Clients and peers trust that you understand engaging and interactive learning in adults and how various techniques are applied.

The foundation supporting the work I do is teaching clients to create work environments in which employees understand the value of continuous learning. I primarily teach skills to help workers navigate difficult situations that affect morale, productivity, and creativity. I want them to know that you never stop learning, and if something is not working, you should be willing to step out of the box and look at something new or tweak what you have. I encourage creating an environment where employees can make mistakes and survive. Mistakes are a big part of how we learn, and removing that fear can propel organizations beyond imaginable heights. With my CPLP, they get why I talk like I talk.

I certainly believe the CPLP was the best immediate thing I could have done for my career. My success in achieving this certification has sparked a thirst and energy for collaboration in other projects. Most recently, I was encouraged to teach a public workshop for training internal professionals on how to conduct an EEO employee investigation stemming from complaints of discrimination. The encouragement came from individuals who saw my CPLP instructional design credentials and abilities in learning as a plus for creating and presenting engaging and interactive compliance information. The course mandates 32 hours of learning to receive the EEO MD-110 certificate. The days are long, and it is important to incorporate learning techniques to offset the challenges that could interfere with absorption. Well, I’m taking the leap, supported by the confidence of others.


My advice to anyone considering the CPLP:

  • Do it sooner than later. I first became interested in the CPLP more than 10 years before my certification, and I regret I did not do it sooner. I always convinced myself that I already knew this stuff, and I was wrong. There was and is so much to learn.
  • Talk to as many CPLPs as possible and listen to their stories as they tell you about their journey.
  • Get a reliable study partner and don’t be afraid to change if it doesn’t work with your first choice.
  • Stay positive and stay in the presence of encouraging peer professionals.
  • Be willing to share as you learn during this process. Repetition helps with absorption.
  • Don’t be afraid to seek help. Plan to pass the first time.

I started my CPLP journey in February 2013 when I invested nearly $600 in the ASTD Learning System and study cards. I joined two online study groups (one fizzled out, the other I fizzled out of), joined the Owl’s Ledge forum, and grabbed a study partner (most effective). I registered for the exam in April 2014, passed my CPLP exam in June, submitted my project in August, and found out I passed in October. Keep in mind, you don’t have to be the superstar—just pass. I was certainly no superstar.

For me, this journey did not come without anxiety. For that reason, I have no intention of ever letting it lapse.
Learn more about earning your CPLP certification.

About the Author

Sharon E. Harrington, MA, CPLP is the founder and senior organizational communication consultant of Amediate, LLC. She has more than 25 years’ experience facilitating workplace learning and mediating issues surrounding internal conflict leading to elevated claims of discrimination. She primarily consults with organizational leaders to develop empowered teams who are skilled in preventive techniques for self-navigating difficult and uncomfortable workplace situations that cause disruption. She has presented at numerous conferences, including EEOC TAPS, surrounding the topic of accountability to civility in the workplace. She holds an MA degree in organizational communication from Arizona State University and a BA degree in public relations/journalism from Kent State University. She earned the CPLP certification in October 2014.

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Great article and advice. I loved the title because it's so true. I just passed the Knowledge Exam and sit for the SAE in February. Do you have any studying advice? Thank you!
Congratulations on passing the knowledge exam!!! I still remember that afternoon sitting alone at the computer and feeling such a rush when the word "pass" popped up on the next screen. I literally jumped up and did a dance all by myself:) When I took my exam the next step was to submit the project. I did not do the Skills Application Exam so unfortunately I don't have any personal tips. I would advise you to take advantage of resources at the ATD site
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Great advice! I’ve toyed around sitting for the exam for years. I always worry that I don’t know ENOUGH and am constantly learning. At what point did you say: just do it?
Thank you for your comment. I think I finally decided to go for it when I found a steady and dependable study partner. It is the only thing that is different from my other attempted times. We held each other accountable with a timetable and did not let each other off with excuses. It worked and we both passed the exam and project on first attempt.
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