Friday, May 25, 2007

Microsoft Office: 90 Tips in 90 Minutes

Okay -- this doesn't have much to do with the CPLP -- (other than, perhaps, helping you figure out how to work with MS Word to complete the work product submission forms!) -- but it's a significant area event.

For the first time -- ever! -- these professional development associations are working together to deliver a program.

Sure - I have a bias -- as the CCASTD Director of Technology, I'm the organizer. (Some would say instigator!) :)

The following Chicago chapters of area non-profit professional development associations have partnered together to bring you - "Microsoft Office: 90 Tips in 90 Minutes":

When/Where: Thursday, May 31, 2007 - Tellabs 1415 W Diehl Rd, Naperville, IL 60563

Microsoft Office expert Chris Bertelson will share insider tips and tricks for using Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, SharePoint and OneNote.

Chris has a unique and energetic delivery style that makes his information-packed sessions fun and memorable.

Pick one! Three 90-minute sessions are available at (all times CDT):

  • 8:30 a.m. – 10 a.m.
  • 2 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.
  • 4 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.

Registration & reception start at least a half hour before each presentation. Reception sponsored by The CARA Group. Come mingle with your peers and enjoy complimentary snacks & beverages!

Please visit a partner organization Web site for details & registration. Registration closes EOB Tuesday, May 29th. Due to building security -- no walk-ins allowed.

Enjoy your Memorial Day weekend!

~ Trish Uhl, PMP, CPLP
Owl's Ledge LLC - The CPLP Experts

Monday, May 21, 2007

CPLP Discussion Panel - May 23rd 2007

Just a quick note for those in & around the Chicagoland area:

CCASTD is hosting a CPLP Discussion Panel at Harris Bank in Buffalo Grove, IL this coming Wednesday evening - May 23rd 2007 - from 5:15pm to 8:00pm.

This event features area CPLP certified (including me!) & CPLP candidates discussing their experiences with the CPLP program. They'll answer questions, such as:
  • What motivated you to pursue the CPLP certification?
  • How relevant is the CPLP certification to you and your job?
  • What do you see as the future of the CPLP certification process?
  • What advice do you have for others who are considering pursuing the CPLP?

This event is moderated by Ken Phillips - of Ken Phillips & Associates -- one of the original CPLP Pilot participants.

I hope to see you there!

~ Trish Uhl, PMP, CPLP
Owl's Ledge LLC

CPLP Knowledge-Based Exam Strategies

The Certified Professional in Learning & Performance (CPLP) knowledge-based exam consists of 150 multiple choice questions -- all delivered one question at a time via a computer screen.

The exam covers subject matter from across the nine (9) areas of expertise outlined in the 2004 ASTD Competency Model and presents questions that range from understanding definitions to applying knowledge.

The exam is timed. Time is tracked and displayed by the computer system. Candidates must complete the exam within the allotted time.

It's all meant to test comprehension of material from across the workplace learning & performance industry.

Clearly, studying for an exam so broad in subject matter can be a daunting task (understatement!). Preparation is key!

Click here to visit the ASTD Certification Institute site to view example test questions. (Note: This link opens a Word document in the browser.)

Looking for practice questions with a bit of remediation?

Click here to checkout the Owl's Ledge sample practice exam.

If you're looking for something more robust, click here to checkout the full set of Owl's Ledge online practice exams - 120+ questions!

Prep early, prep often -- the penalty for failing the exam is a $350 re-test fee to sit the exam again.

On top of studying a lot of stuff, sitting a multiple choice exam presents its own unique set of pros and cons.

On the pro side, with the nature of a multiple choice question, you know that the correct answer is there somewhere (and doesn't have to be rattled off the top of your head).

On the con side, that means that multiple choice questions often demand a greater familiarity with details such as specific facts.

Have hope! There are universal multiple choice test taking techniques you can use to increase your success rate, especially on questions that throw you for a loop.

Here are some some things to keep in mind:

  • Watch for questions where responses use absolute words, such as "always" or "never." These are less likely to be correct responses than ones that use conditional words like "usually" or "probably."

  • Humourous responses are usually just that -- humourous -- and no more.

  • "All of the above" is often a correct response. If you can verify that more than one of the other responses is probably correct, then choose "all of the above."

  • "None of the above" is usually an incorrect response, but this is less reliable than the "all of the above" rule.

  • Look for grammatical clues. If the stem ends with the indefinite article "an," for example, then the correct response probably begins with a vowel.

  • Read through all of the answers first, then select the best one. Tip! Read the answer choices from bottom to top to slow yourself down and give yourself a chance to consider all answers before selecting one.
  • Look for verbal associations. A response that repeats key words that are in the stem is likely to be correct.

Also keep in mind - you can mark questions and return to them later. This way, you can temporarily skip over questions you don't immediately know the answer to -- and return to them later.

Finally -- Practice Practice Practice. Not just practice in studying the material, but practice sitting in front of a computer screen for long periods of time. You're going to be in that exam center for a while -- so get your body acclimated to that kind of environment before you sit the exam.

(I know, I know -- some of us are already all too familiar with this!)

Figure out how you perform best on these types of exams and head to the testing center with your own personal strategy.

From all of us here at the 'Ledge, good luck!

~ Trish Uhl, PMP, CPLP
Owl's Ledge LLC

Friday, May 04, 2007

Greetings from the CSTD National Learning Symposium in Montreal!


Here's what I love about the CPLP and the 2004 ASTD Competency Model the credential is based on -- it has real world value because it has real world use.

Two years ago, when I got involved with the CPLP program, I questioned the integration of 9 areas of expertise. Afterall, what does stand-up instruction have to do with career paths and talent management?

Tools and techniques - various methodologies and adult education theory - is anyone really using instruments like the Herrmann Brain Dominance Index (HBDI)? Or approaches like Appreciative Inquiry? And, aside from the Army, who's really using Action Research?

All interesting to study, but impractical to apply - right?

And, really, what does it have to do with me and my work as a practitioner in learning & performance?

Fast forward two years, and I've learned a lot. These are strategies for real world use and they do have practical applications across the broad spectrum that is our industry - from instructional designers to talent managers and all disciplines in between.

Here's an example: Cirque du Soleil

I'm blogging from my hotel room on Peel St in Montreal, just down the way from the McGill Executive Institute where the CSTD National Learning Symposium is being held.

The sold-out symposium kicked off yesterday with an opening keynote delivered by Sylvie Geneau, Assistant Vice President, Casting & Performance and France Dufresne, Director, Organizational Development & Training from Cirque du Soleil.

Sylvie and France have spent the past four years building a leadership program at Cirque du Soleil - a program that acknowledges and embraces the duality that is Cirque -- addressing the needs of the very structured business side and the very informal creative side.

The challenge - protecting Cirque du Soleil's identity and providing consistent leadership development to its managerial team - worldwide, given:
  • 3,000+ employees worldwide

  • 44 nationalities

  • 28 spoken languages

  • Over 360 performances a year

Also given:
  • In high growth, more than half of Cirque's management positions were filled from the outside. Everyone had their own way of doing things.

  • 25% of Cirque are artists who do not work with business processes

  • Most people come from outside industries that are much different than Cirque, and it takes a while to acclimate to Cirque's unique culture.

  • Differences in schedules, pace, attitudes of people who work in the head office, those touring on the road, and those working resident shows.

The solution - using HBDI and an Appreciative Inquiry approach, Sylvie and France were able to develop a communication strategy and leadership framework that allows people - from across the broad spectrum of talents that comprise Cirque - to relate to the company's values and visualize their role as leaders.

Techniques used - storytelling, informal learning

Cultural differences are acknowledged and embraced - the leadership framework is not one size fits all.

There's more to the story - and I'm excited to share it! - but I'm late as it is to the opening keynote for the second day of the symposium.

My point here is -- the Competency Model is real. It's not just a bunch of material to study to pass the CPLP knowledge-based exam.

There's some good stuff there for those who can use a little imagination in how they, as practitioners, can apply it.

Which makes the CPLP - as a reflection of one's ability to understand and synthesize these disciplines - all the more worthwhile!

Congratulations to the newly certified!

~ Trish Uhl, PMP, CPLP
Owl's Ledge LLC