Sunday, October 07, 2007

Using the SQ3R Method to Study for the CPLP

Well, here it is ladies & gentlemen - the first job ad I've seen that lists the CPLP certification as REQUIRED!

OFFICETEAM - Naples, FL (as posted on
Human Resources Administrator

Job Description:
Prestigious Naples Country Club is looking for an experienced Human Resources Administrator to grow with their company. In this role, you will be responsible for maintaining employee information, new hire training, provide advice and counsel to management and employees to ensure consistent application and integration of policies, procedures, and practices.

Human Resource Administrators interested in applying for this position should have at least three years of related HR experience in a country club or hospitality field, in addition the candidate must have experience with sexual harassment training, F&B training as well as being CPLP certified.

Proficiency with Microsoft Office applications, excellent communication and organizational skills. 3+ years HR in the Hospitality Industry experience required. CPLP Certification is REQUIRED

[REQUIRED is OFFICETEAM's emphasis, not ours!]

See this job description for yourself on at:

Using the SQ3R Method to Study for the CPLP

Although eligibility requirements for entering the Certified Professional in Learning & Performance (CPLP) credentialing program call for candidates to have a minimum of three (3) years industry experience, many CPLP candidates are professionals who have been in the learning & performance industry for far longer - 10+ years, 20+years, etc.

Given as such, there are a great many of us who are a long way from school and haven't studied for an exam in a decade or more! (Did Isay that out loud?)

We're a bit out of practice. :)

If you are a professional who's a long ways away from being in the study habit, or if you're a candidate just looking for a way to sharpen existing study habits, this tip is for you!

This week we're discussing the SQ3R Method (Robinson, 1970).

Adults. We're a funny bunch. Just as the research shows that adults learn more effectively when the learning has relevance to us, to our situation, so the research shows that the same holds true for studying.

Studying works better for us when the material has meaning; when we can connect it to something else.

These types of connections are referred to as 'elaborations' in cognitive psychology. The more elaborate your schema for something, the better able you are to remember it (think of chess players whouse patterns to strategize during a game).

These relationships don't have to be earth shattering, important, or complex - they can often be silly, illogical, and fun!

Consider mnemonics. Mnemonics are 'tricks' used to memorize something. A mnemonic usually consists of a word, phrase, rhyme, or sing-song about something easy that helps us to remember something more complex.

Those of us in the United States grew up with:

Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally

This mnemonic is used to help kids remember the algebraic mathematical order of operations - Parentheses, Exponents, Multiplication, Division, Addition, Subtraction.

In this example, each letter of an operation (e.g. "P" for Parentheses) is given a corresponding word with the same letter (e.g. "P" for Please) in a silly sing-song sentence. If you can remember the sentence (and many do) you can remember the order.

Then there's the ever popular:

"Thirty days hath September, April, June and November. All the resthave thirty-one, except February alone, which has eight and a scoreuntil leap year gives it one day more."

(I know I'm not the only one who has to sing that in her head to remember the number of days in a month!)

This mnemonic is an example of a gestalt - a configuration or pattern of elements that creates a unified whole. Meaning, the sequence of the mnemonic is also emphasized. You have to 'sing' it in the specific order, otherwise the sentence doesn't make any sense.

Anyone up for singing his/her ABCs?

My personal favourite?

All King Edward's Horses Can Make Big Fences

That's the mnemonic dressage riders use to remember where each letter is located in a dressage arena. This is important because horse & rider are to perform different movements at each letter, so to remember the choreographed pattern one is to ride in competition, you must remember where the letters are located.

Enter the SQ3R method. The SQ3R method is a 5-step method - Survey,Question, Read, Recite & Review (SQ3R) - for achieving active elaboration.

We'll use reading as an example. This is especially effective if you're studying with the Owl's Ledge Study Packs or using the ASTDLearning System.

Here are the 5 steps to achieve elaboration with written material:
  • Step 1. Survey (1 minute): Before beginning reading look through the whole chapter, Infoline, or article. Pay attention to the headings & subheadings. Our brains love to latch on to hierarchical structures! Try not to actually read the material yet; just see if you can identify 3-6 major ideas in the material.
  • Step 2. Question (usually less than 30 seconds): Ask yourself what the material is about: What is the question it's trying to answer? You can also ask, What question do I have that this material might help answer? Repeat this process with each subsection of the material. Turn each heading into a question.
  • Step 3. Read: Now you're ready to begin reading the material. Read one section at a time looking for the answer to the question proposed by the heading. This is active reading - you're not just scanning the material! Active reading requires concentration so make sure you're somewhere with a block of time that you can devote to quiet concentration.
  • Step 4. Recite/write (about a minute): Say to yourself (in your head or out loud - which is an especially fun exercise on the commuter train) or write down (you're allowed to doodle in the margins of the material) a key phrase that sums up the major point of the section and answers the question. It is critical to use your own words - don't just copy a phrase from the material. Research shows that we remember our own (active) connections better than ones given to us (passive); that our own hierarchies are generally better than the best prefab hierarchies.
  • Step 5. Review (less than 5 minutes): After repeating steps 2-4 for each section you have a list of key phrases that provides a sort of outline for the material. Test yourself by covering up the key phrases and seeing if you can recall them. Do this right after you finish reading the material. If you can't recall one of your major points, that's a section you need to reread.

Rinse. Repeat.

SQ3R can be a very effective study method for breaking down all of the material contained across all nine (9) areas of expertise in the ASTD Competency Model, which the CPLP Knowledge-base Exam is based on.

I once used this method to weave together 12 chapters of a psychology exam in college - a friend of mine and I wove all the material together into one, long story - and used it to ace the psych final!

Details of that experience are for another email - or catch me at a CPLP Boot Camp and I'll tell you the story!

Study happy!

CPLPCOACH.COM is about building community. In that spirit, we'dlike to encourage people to interact with each other on the discussion forums by offering a 'content posting' contest.

The rules are simple:

  • The posts must contain real content -questions/responses/discussion.
  • Each post counts as a submission inthe drawing.
  • More posts, more chances to win!

Members can access the discussion forums here:

We'll draw another winner on October 20th! The winner gets to pick one (1) item from the CPLPCOACH.COM Store! ===============================================================

Featuring books and Owl Study Packs that can be customized to suit your personal study plan!

Recertification Credit Hours - Tracking System
Beta Testing is About to Start!

In order for us to retain our CPLP certification, we have to re-certify every 3 years. Recertification means documenting and providing evidence for events/activities that qualify for recertification credit hours.

Owl's Ledge is in the process of developing a recertification system that helps CPLPs to track & report their recertification hours.

Use the link below if you're a CPLP interested in helping us to test the recertification system:

Upcoming Events

2007 ASTD Leaders Conference (ALC)
Hilton Alexandria Mark Center
Alexandria, VA
October 26-27, 2007
* Pre-conference 10/25

ASTD Chapter Leaders - attend our presentations at this year's ALC!

  • Friday, October 26 - "Do-Re-Mi CPLP: Singing Each Note to Support CPLP
  • Saturday, October 27 - "Solution Symphony: 75 Chapter Leader Tips in 75

ALC is free to ASTD Chapter Leaders - register today!


Twin Cities ASTD - Regional Conference & Exposition
River Centre - St. Paul, MN
November 13 & 14th, 2007

** Visit Owl's Ledge LLC in the Exhibit Hall in St. Paul!

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


Mark Pennington said...

An update on SQ3R (with a better research base) is the easy-to-use PQRAR read-study method. Find this at PQRAR.

Trish said...

Thanks, Mark!