Perseverance Was My Key to the CPLP

Thursday, August 10, 2017

My journey to earning the Certified Professional in Learning and Performance (CPLP) has been longer than most. Primarily this was due to a lack of commitment, at least initially. I first became interested in the CPLP in 2005; having just completed my master’s degree in training and development, however, I decided the time was not right.  

Someone I deeply respected was in the original pilot CPLP group. Knowing her and her achievements kept me thinking of the program. Two years later—2007—I decided the time was right and bought the newest version of the learning system. Along came a lack of commitment, and my expensive dust collector sat—untouched. 

When 2015 arrived, I realized that it was time to make a learning commitment to myself. I knew I was a great trainer, but I was stagnant—in my job and my learning—and needed to shake myself loose. I love learning, and was angry that I had essentially stopped. So, I reviewed the CPLP program and committed myself. I signed up for the self-paced course through ATD, and started the learning process. To pass the Knowledge Exam and the Skills Application Exam (SAE), you must be fluent in all the areas of expertise and foundational competencies. With years of training and training management experience, I still needed assistance to learn what was being tested. I needed the structure of the self-paced course to help me focus. 

I studied hard and signed up for a Knowledge Exam date. But just before I was scheduled to take it, a major family crisis erupted, and I was forced to reschedule. You have a limited window from registration to complete the process; at that time, the SAE was the submission of an extensive project, and you couldn’t schedule that until you passed the Knowledge Exam. A full seven months later, and some serious cramming, I passed the Knowledge Exam. 


Still embroiled in the family crisis, I did not realize that the SAE was no longer the project submission, so I pushed my submission date to the very last possible window I could—December 2016—more than 18 months after I started the process. I was panic-stricken over pulling together everything needed for the project. When my life cleared enough to truly focus again, I discovered that there was now an exam, not a project submission, and I had zero clue how to prepare for it. Enter my friend and colleague who was in the original CPLP pilot program, who ran a course to help prepare. It was new! No one really knew what to expect, and my cohort was only the second one to take the SAE. But the focus and direction was what I needed, along with my years of experience, and studying for the Knowledge Exam. 

I took the SAE in December. I had absolutely no sense of how I had done, and I convinced myself that it didn’t matter if I failed (setting myself up to not be disappointed, I thought). When I received the email in February that my results were in, I discovered that I really, really cared how I’d done. With my husband at my side, I logged in for my result, and I started crying—hard! 

I really cared, and I really passed! 

Personal commitment is everything in the journey for your CPLP. No matter how difficult things become, personally or professionally, you must be committed to yourself to see it through. As others have said, “If it were easy, everyone would do it.” You need to want this badly enough for yourself that nothing will stop you, although you may experience unexpected delays. Study hard, believe in yourself, and get assistance as you need it. You too can become a CPLP. 

Learn more about the CPLP certification.

About the Author
Kristin Quandt is the founder of Quandtum Leap, a company specializing in growing company leaders and staff by providing learning, training, and development that is customized to the needs of the organization. Prior to Quandtum Leap, Kristin worked in the legal industry for more than 15 years providing professional services, client consulting, project management, software rollouts, and user productivity software training. Kristin earned a master’s degree in training and development from the University of St. Francis in 2005. In 2017, she earned the Certified Professional in Learning and Performance credential from the ATD Certification Institute.   
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