Certificate Scene Chaos

Posted in Uncategorized

pelusoBadges, certificates and certifications are the fastest growing area of continuing professional education. A packed room on the subject at the big LERN conference in Orlando demonstrated that this is a hot area.

But the widely disparate questions equally demonstrated that the world of certificates can also be characterized as a chaotic scene. And it raises the question of whether your program should be regulated or whether the existing marketplace actually serves society better than top-down agencies with burdensome regulations, fees and restrictions.

In his session, New York attorney Steven T. Peluso, Esq., reviewed the latest efforts by a number of national organizations to create a level of control and command over the area.

Continuing professional education is central to workforce competency.  Some of the problems Peluso outlined in furthering a quality workforce:

– No common language to describe workforce skills;

– No means of identifying workforce candidates with the best fit for a particular job;

– No benchmarks for skills and updating of skills;

– No way for workers to document their skill sets.

With badges, certificates and certifications, there’s no universal standards for quality, no universal standards for acceptance, and no approval system.

There’s not even common definitions of what a badge or a certificate is.

The questions from the audience illustrated the scattered nature of the scene right now.
– “Are badges just another CEU?”
– “Where can I find teachers who are certified to teach something?”
– “Is our school allowed to teach a given subject?”
– “What about funding?”
– “Are there any avocational badge giver standards?”

LERN developed an initial Certificate and Certification Standards several years ago.  LERN will now review those standards with an eye to modifying them to make them more feasible for LERN member programs to follow.

The big issue is whether a few top-down organizations will exert control, including costs, regulations and restrictions, on continuing education programs.  Or whether programs will join together to create standards that make sense from the bottom-up with a minimum of cost and greater benefit to the workforce.

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