Wednesday, December 31, 2014

What are the Costs of a Failed Work Product? (in addition to feeling sick?)

In addition to the disappointment and sick feeling in your stomach (some people even feel embarrassed in front of friends, family, and colleagues), a failed CPLP Work Product incurs multiple costs.

These costs include:

  • FINANCIAL ($$) - ATD CI charges a $300.00 USD re-test fee to submit a new Work Product
  • EFFORT - ATD CI requires candidates create an ENTIRELY NEW submission (you are NOT allowed to "fix" a failed submission and re-submit - it MUST be new)
  • TIME - ATD CI requires candidates to wait to re-submit a new submission in the next Work Product "window" - which is at least 4 months away
  • DELAY - ATD CI only designates new CPLPs twice a year - in April and in October - which means you will be delayed in reaching your goal of achieving CPLP certification
  • RISK (EXAM SCORES EXPIRE) - ATD CI expires candidate exam scores after 2 years (2 years from the date of CPLP Knowledge Exam success)
  • RISK (MAXIMUM ATTEMPTS) - ATD CI limits the MAXIMUM number of Work Product submissions to three (3) per candidate 
Source: ATD CPLP Certification Handbook 2014-2015

I want to ensure you're connecting with the implications...

consider the following timeline...


STEP 0: Enter the CPLP Program

Delegate meets eligibility requirements, applies to the ATD Certification Institute, becomes an official CPLP candidate, and enters the CPLP certification program.

STEP 1: Successfully Pass CPLP Knowledge Exam

Now registered as an official CPLP candidate, the clock is counting down - you have ONE (1) YEAR to clear the CPLP Knowledge Exam - or you forfeit your candidate registration fees and must re-apply and pay again to start again (at STEP 0).

STEP 2: Successfully Pass CPLP Work Product

After having successfully passed the CPLP Knowledge Exam (Congratulations!) you have 2 YEARS  in which to pass the CPLP Work Product submission phase.

That may seem like a lot of time, but it's not.

Here's why --

You only have a TOTAL of four (4) test windows to choose from and only three (3) attempts to be successful.

Let me break it down --

ATD CI only offers two (2) test windows for CPLP Work Product, per year

That means from the time you passed the CPLP Knowledge Exam - to when your exam scores expire (after 2 years) - you only have a TOTAL of four (4) possible test windows (2 per year x 2 years = 4) to choose from to submit a SUCCESSFUL Work Product. 

Let's say you submit a Work Product and ATD CI rates it as "Failed" or "Cannot Be Scored" - that means you are now "down" an attempt.

You are only allowed three (3) attempts at passing CPLP Work Product.

After that, you have to wait to re-enter the program (STEP 0) and try - from the start - all over again.


Yay cake! Achieving CPLP is the goal, right?

Of course, ALL candidates want to make their way successfully through the CPLP certification process the FIRST time around, but FEW are STRATEGIC in planning out EXACTLY how to do that.

(That's one of the reasons why the pass rate is so low - some cohorts only 43% of candidates passed Work Product. That's LESS THAN HALF.)

You can leave it to chance or you can beat the odds by making a choice.

To your success in 2015 and beyond!

~ trish 

~ Trish Uhl, PMP, CPLP
2005 CPLP Pilot Pioneer
CEO and Founder Owl's Ledge
Creator, CPLP Mastery Series Online Courses and Workshops, and self-directed resources at

P.S. Get Started on Your CPLP Work Product Submission by making good choices and avoid the sting of an unsuccessful CPLP Work Product...

...Get your FREE copy of my...

....CPLP Work Product Getting Started Planning Worksheet --> CLICK HERE!

CLICK HERE --> for your FREE copy! CPLP Work Product Getting Started Planning Worksheet

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Why Candidates Should Reconsider Re-Submitting a Revised 'Could Not Be Scored' Submission

Candidates who have an opportunity to submit a revised 'Could Not Be Scored' CPLP Work Product in February 2015 should consider their options carefully - including understanding the risk - before deciding to do as such.

What risk?

According to the ATD Certification Institute (ATD CI), candidates are allowed to submit Work Product a MAXIMUM of three (3) times.

After a third unsuccessful submission - candidates are prohibited from submitting again - which means they cannot complete the CPLP certification process.

It's easier to race through these three (3) attempts than you might think.

Start with - the first submission - the one with the 'Could Not Be Scored' status - it's considered the first attempt.


Candidates are allowed to make limited revisions and re-submit the same Work Product again in the next cohort, but that means they first have to decipher what the issue(s) with their submission was.

Candidate Communication from ATD CI re: 'Could Not Be Scored' Work Product Submission
Here's all the input you receive about your 'Could Not Be Scored' submission from ATD CI:

"Incomplete submission.  Work Product is missing required evidence, or Work Product is completely missing narrative content and evidence to address one or more Key Action(s)."

You have to perform "submission forensics" to determine which one - or ones - it is.

Even if the root cause of the status is easy to discover (e.g. the submission is missing a required piece of evidence), there's no guarantee of submission success the second time around. 

You literally have no input (or confidence) as to whether or not - barring the original presenting issue that triggered the 'Could Not Be Scored' status - the remainder of the submission is on track to meet requirements or not.

This is particularly challenging considering the resubmission MUST also meet CURRENT Work Product requirements for the new submission window:

"To that end, you must resubmit your entire Work Product using the updated forms (applicable to the 02/20/2015 cohort)."

Difficult to do, since the CPLP Work Product requirements have changed significantly (including, in some AOEs, how the submission is organized and packaged) between the August 2014 and February 2015 cohorts.

How do you make severely restricted revisions (reference the CPLP Certification Handbook), to a previous submission ("square peg"), and make it align to the new requirements ("round hole") it was was never originally intended to meet?

Seems to me that's like trying to jam a square peg in a round hole and an easy way to gain a FAILED submission -- 

Is it even worth the risk?


In Summary: Candidates risk using up two (2) of their three (3) attempts with the same submission - right off the bat - not only delaying their achievement of the CPLP certification, but also putting an awful lot of pressure on their third - and FINAL - attempt.

Who wants to risk STRIKE THREE? 

So before you consider re-submitting by default, spend the time to do the due diligence to determine if you can:
  1. uncover the Critical Flaw(s) that earned the 'Could Not Be Scored' status; 
  2. thoroughly understand CURRENT CPLP Work Product requirements; and
  3. make the necessary changes within the constraints of what you are allowed - by ATD CI - to change.
Be attentive - and deliberate. 

Don't take shortcuts, seduced by the possibility of short-sighted short term gains only to put your long term goal - CPLP certification success! - at risk.

To your success!

~ trish

Thursday, December 04, 2014

3 MAGICAL Measurement & Evaluation resources to Help YOU Meet CPLP Work Product Requirements

Measurement and Evaluation is a competency area that often poses MAJOR risk for many CPLP Work Product candidates.

Reason being, candidates misunderstand or completely MISS the REQUIREMENTS.

For example, Training Delivery and Instructional Design candidates mistakenly only focus on Kirkpatrick Level 1, and they...

...(ignore? overlook? miss entirely?) that they're also REQUIRED to...


...higher levels of the Kirkpatrick 4 Levels of Evaluation Model...

...- YES! 

...up to and including Kirkpatrick Level 4!

This applies to ALL AOEs, including:
  • Training Delivery
  • Instructional Design
  • Managing Learning Programs
  • Performance Improvement

Don't just take my word for it - Read the CPLP Certification Handbook, Part 3: Appendix Q: Work Product Scoring Rubrics

In some AOEs, you even have to PROVE (provide actual evidence) that business results were achieved.
(Candidates also miss that they are REQUIRED to OBVIOUSLY DEMONSTRATE both formative and summative evaluation methods as well - but I'll leave that for another post.)

Listen, I've spent almost a decade coaching people from around the globe through the CPLP certification process - date - almost a decade! - 

I'm the only person, worldwide...

...who does that - 

...but even I do NOT coach candidates on 

...HOW to do the work.

My reasons are very simple:

As a candidate, you should already have the required skills and be able to demonstrate them. 

That is, after all, what becoming CPLP certified is all about - you are voluntarily agreeing to be assessed against a professional standard that you claim to be able to apply to your work. 

CPLP Work Product requires comprehensive evidence that you can do just that.

(BTW - Consistently applying professional standards to your work - that's what being a professional means. Hence the name: Certified Professional in Learning & Performance.)

BUT - I "get" that many candidates still want confidence that their perceived competence - and work samples - are up to the quality standards expected and DEMANDED by the CPLP certification process.

Bottom Line: They want to know if what they do - and the work samples they have - will pass.


If this is you, then my advice is straightforward - the way to find out is: 

Assess your work and work samples against the models and standards defined by the actual expert authorities whose work is referenced in the ATD Competency Model.

Yes - the experts who define the professional standard.

Ah - but how do you get access to the experts?

Easy - follow me

I know many of the experts personally, but let me connect YOU with them - and their work - directly!

Here's how -- by leveraging my 3 "MAGICAL" Measurement and Evaluation Resources:

#1: Kirkpatrick Partners - Jim and Wendy Kirkpatrick are globally known for their expertise and experience building off of and extending the work of Jim's dad - Dr. Donald ("Don") Kirkpatrick - the "Father" of Training Measurement & Evaluation and the creator of the Kirkpatrick 4 Levels of Evaluation Model. 

The Kirkpatricks offer FREE measurement & evaluation resources at - 

- resources you can access immediately by taking advantage of...

...complimentary membership in the Kirkpatrick online community.

Owl's Ledge was privileged to organize and host Dr. Kirkpatrick's Retirement Celebration after his final public conference appearance at the 2011 ASTD International Conference and Exposition in Orlando, FL

#2: Ken Phillips - CPLP Pilot Pioneer, ATD author, and long-time ASTD Chapter Leader Ken Phillips (no relation to Jack!) is a...

...recognized learning leader in the ASTD / ATD Chapter community and -

 ...a regular speaker at the ASTD / ATD International Conference on...

Measurement & Evaluation!

Ken is Kirkpatrick Partners certified and one of the...

...few practitioners whose work the Kirkpatricks reference!

Learning pros often turn to the Kirkpatricks as leaders in measurement & evaluation strategy and theory; and go to Ken for "getting down to the brass tacks" and applying the Kirkpatrick Model to their work.

See for yourself!

Here's one of Ken's STELLAR how-to articles on...

"8 Tips for Developing Level 1 Evaluation Forms

A Tale of Three (3) Chicago ASTD Presidents -- Deb Pastors, Ken Phillips & Trish Uhl

#3: Lou Russell - ASTD / ATD Learning Legend and "Queen of Project Management" Lou Russell is, perhaps, best known for...

...her work in project management (overall) and, specifically-

...making project management practices accessible to all learning & performance professionals.

For example, to help learning pros simplify their understanding of Level 4: Business Results --

...and how desired results  translate into business (and learning!) objectives...

...Lou created the acronym -- 


Increase Revenue, Avoid Cost, Improve Service

Clarifying the desired business results or organizational outcomes (Kirkpatrick Level 4) then determines the rest of your Evaluation Plan and measurement & evaluation methods!

Take a sneak peek in Lou Russell's ASTD Press book -

"10 Steps to Successful Project Management learn more about Lou's IRACIS mnemonic - 

...and how to apply it to your work (and Work Product submission)!

Sharing a Laugh! Lou Russell and I together often spells Trouble - when you see either of us, ask us about the Flash Mob we did in Denver... ;-D

To Summarize How YOU Can Perform Work Product Magic:
  • Know, understand, and APPLY the ATD CI Work Product requirements - for your selected Area of Expertise (AOE) - to your CPLP Work Product work samples.
  • Ensure you are producing work samples at the caliber and level of quality DEMANDED by the ATD CPLP certification process.
  • Reference - and actively utilize! - the resources produced and provided by the experts whose work defines the ATD Competency Model and the professional standard.

REMEMBER! The better you perform as a learning professional by applying the competencies outlined in the professional standard (ATD Competency Model), the better your performance as a Certified Professional in Learning and Performance (CPLP) candidate. 


I am ABSOLUTELY recommending you do the sometimes difficult, often rigorous work -- that requires a lot of time and focused attention -- (I know both are in short supply)

-- but think of it this way --

Would you rather spend more time...


...getting it right?

Or spend MORE time - 

....and money (in re-test fees) - later...

...trying to figure out just how to get it done?

YOU get to choose which path YOU take to CPLP. :-)

To your success!

~ trish 

P.S. If you're looking for help with your CPLP Work Product submission, consider joining my online program.
CPLP Work Product Road Map - a Project Plan for Accelerating Your Ability to Achieve CPLP!

My CPLP Work Product online program follows my comprehensive 4-step process for CPLP Work Product success:

1. Strategically Plan Your Work Samples & Submission
2. Completing Your Project Work
3. Assembling Work Samples & Writing Narrative Responses
4. Packaging & Shipping
Enrolled participants receive Orientation materials (including my CPLP Work Product Road Map, checklists, and  step-by-step AOE specific recorded session) to help them get started with their submissions right away - within 24 hours of enrolling.


Wednesday, December 03, 2014

What To Do If You Fail the ATD CPLP Practice Exam (pCPLP)

Hi all -

Email from a panicked candidate who "failed" the ATD pCPLP prompted me to write the following response to him in email.

Usually candidates who don't perform as well as they'd like on the ATD pCPLP are experiencing one or both of the following issues:

1. Wrong study methods
2. Poor exam performance
3. Both


Here’s how you diagnose and fix them:

1. Wrong study methods – how do you know? You keep reading the same material over and over again and it doesn’t stick. It’s not sinking in. Two options: 1) try interacting with the material in a new way (e.g. instead of just reading, create a mind map, or your own flash cards, etc), and/or 2) consider your information processing and learning styles – is your best reading something? Or do you need to see it? do it? hear it? apply it? talk it out? before you really grasp something.

2. Poor exam performance – EXACTLY what it sounds like. How well do you test? Are you a speed racer, racing through reading the questions and missing keywords? Do you stop at the first “correct” answer, or do you consider all of the possible options to determine the BEST answer? Try slowing down; really read the question. Force yourself to consider ALL the responses; read from bottom to top (D to A) instead of “normal” top to bottom (A to D). It feels uncomfortable, so it slows you down.

Testing well is also often a matter of Practice, Practice, Practice in addition to studying.

Studying gives you confidence on the exam; practice improves your exam competence. 

Building confidence and competence for taking the CPLP Knowledge Exam are skills, like any other.
Now, consider the disconnects in the materials you’re studying with.

What do I mean?

First, if you have an older version of the ATD Learning System (especially the books!), you need to look at the ATD Learning System Errata page to make corrections to your materials.

Second, you also need to look at the ATD Learning System Updates page to make updates to your materials.

Does NOT matter how new your materials are; at minimum, your books do NOT contain the Social Learning PDF on the Updates page - and the subject matter in that PDF is tested HEAVILY on the current version of the exam.


Third, the end-of-chapter questions in the books do NOT reflect what the exam is like; the questions are not written in the same format as the CPLP Knowledge Exam (all multiple choice) or at the same level (book questions are largely recall; exam is mostly application).

What you experienced on the ATD pCPLP is more in keeping with what your CPLP Knowledge Exam experience will be like.

Options –

LOTS of candidates on LinkedIn have posted details about resources they've used and found to be effective.

Some have benefited from the self study materials on (our Basic or Premium membership) or the facilitated online courses and in-classroom, in-country.

Several candidates hundred have downloaded the Kindle edition of my "Mastering the CPLP: How to Successfully Prepare for - and PASS! - the CPLP Knowledge Exam" book from

Others have done well accessing local ATD Chapter resources (which are vastly different study prep offerings than what ATD National offers).

There are also candidate created materials out there.

Like I said, first thing to do is to update your Learning System and diagnose root cause(s) to your performance gaps.

Last, sometimes folks get into the program and discover they are not qualified, despite meeting eligibility requirements. 

"Qualified" means the candidate has the appropriate education, experience, and exposure to the critical competencies in the ATD Competency Model.

Some folks simply haven't got enough "under their belts" yet to truly be ready for CPLP certification.

Bottom Line: Conduct your own personal performance gap analysis and be honest with yourself about the gaps - and root cause(s) - you discover. Be realistic about what you need to close them to be successful in the CPLP certification process.

After that, you'll be in a MUCH better position to select the appropriate solution(s) to help you be successful on the CPLP Knowledge Exam - now or in the future!

To your success!

~ trish

Monday, December 01, 2014

2014 Employee Learning Week | Day 1 - First CPLP in South Africa Wins Top Honours for Translating Learning+Performance and People Development into Business Results


Alwyn Klein is the first CPLP in South Africa, one of the first to achieve CPLP certification on the continent of Africa, and one of the first to hold both the Certified Professional in Learning & Performance (CPLP) and International Society for Performance Improvement (ISPI) Certified Performance Technologist (CPT) - worldwide.

Alwyn is responsible for getting the first corporate team on the continent of Africa both CPT and CPLP certified, and it was his vision, drive, and leadership in working with the ATD Certification Institute - over several years - that resulted in the establishment of the first CPLP exam center in Africa.

Alwyn was recently awarded TOP honours - recognized as the Winner of the 2014 Chief Learning & Development Officer (CLDO) Award! - primarily for transforming transactional training into strategic learning & performance and for his leadership in developing his team to make the transformation happen!

(Runners up were the CLOs from KPMG SA and Coca Cola SA)

With a focus on PERFORMANCE, a plege to provide TRAINING that MATTERS, and a COMMITMENT to his team, Alwyn is definitely one of our most notable role models and learning leaders in the CPLP community.

From Left to Right: Shaun Rozyn (executive director, Corporate Education, GIBS), Alwyn Klein (senior manager, Learning and Performance, MTN, 2014 CLO winner) Dean Retief (CLO, Nedbank, 2013 CLO winner), Wilhelm Crous (managing director, Knowledge Resources)

PerformanceXpress article:


Join me in CONGRATULATING one of our own on his recent success!


It's Employee Learning Week!

What's YOUR 2015 Strategic Plan for your own development and career advancement?

What kind of learning LEADER do you aspire to be?

What IMPACT do you want to have?

What CONTRIBUTIONS do you want to make?

What are YOU going to do with your CPLP?

'Tis the season to be dreaming... and planning... :-D


~ trish 

P.S. Many in the CPLP community are not only elevating themselves, they're also LEADING and CONTRIBUTING to the learning profession.

Get the CPLP prep resources YOU need to get on the right path:

~ Trish Uhl, PMP, CPLP
CEO and Founder, Owl's Ledge LLC
Creator, CPLP Mastery Series and CPLPCOACH. com
Author, "Mastering the CPLP: How to Successfully Prepare for - and PASS! - the CPLP Knowledge Exam"

Thursday, November 27, 2014

CPLP Knowledge Exam - How to Deal with Confusing Questions which Don't Count Toward Your Score

Many CPLP candidates miss the fact that there are a number of items (questions) presented on the CPLP Knowledge Exam which do not contribute to their exam scores.

In this blog post, I cover what these unscored items are, where they are, why they are, and how to deal with them.

Unscored items…
  • 25-30 questions on your exam will NOT count toward your score.
  • These items are included in the exam to test the items, not the candidate.
  • Standard exam practice. ATD CI uses the live exam as a means of validating new items for possible inclusion in future versions of the official CPLP Knowledge Exam.
  • You won’t know which items are scored and which are not scored.

This means…
  • You’ll encounter poorly written questions on the exam. They will be vague (like Q3) and could be unsettling.
  • Expect them and prepare yourself for them.

Here's a good example of a vague question, sent to us by a CPLP candidate in China: 

Enter your response in the Comments below! What do you think is the correct answer?
How to deal with them?
  • Come up with a plan for how you will emotionally and mentally deal with them when you see them.
  • You don’t want to let them inhibit your exam performance by a) prompting an emotional reaction that gets you upset, and/or b) spending too much time on them.
  • Prep your strategy ahead of time.
  • For example, think the following through BEFORE your exam: When I encounter a vague question, I will… [take a deep breath, spend no more than 60 seconds on it, answer it and Mark for Review, etc].
  • Think triage. I often coach candidates to emotionally dismiss confusing questions by smiling or laughing at them – and hurrying past them.

Bottom Line: Treat all confusing questions as if they are certainly unscored and move on. This will protect you emotionally and mentally and prevent you from diminishing your performance on the rest of the exam.

From my family to yours during this festive season - THANK YOU for reading!

Happy Thanksgiving!

To your success!

~ trish

~ Trish Uhl, PMP, CPLP
2005 CPLP Pilot Pioneer
CEO and Founder Owl's Ledge
Creator, CPLP Mastery Series and

P.S. You've put in the study time, now put in the PRACTICE that builds your CPLP Knowledge Exam COMPETENCE and COMPETENCE!

Take an absolutely free practice exam right now:

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

How to Fail #CPLP Work Product - Another Reason Why a Submission Cannot be Scored

I am often contacted by individual and groups of candidates within the weeks following the ATD Certification Institute's release of CPLP Work Product results notification.

Most of these folks are strangers, people whom I have not met before, who send me some sampling of their Work Product submission with a request to help them figure out what went wrong.

It is in these weeks immediately following the ATD CI notifications that I get to see A LOT of Work Product submissions.

A lot.

It is because I have visibility into these submissions and - by extension - am able to speak with the candidates to find out what their line of thinking and logic was - that I am able to understand what went wrong - and why.

Reviewing a sampling of CPLP Work Product submissions and in speaking with a variety of candidates from all over the world, I can see patterns and trends emerge.

This is how I came to discover another reason why a CPLP Work Product submission is returned as "cannot be scored."

In my last post, I created an Action Plan for those who received a "cannot be scored" result from the ATD Certification Institute and outlined a 5-step checklist for determining what went wrong, based on the messaging in the ATD "cannot be scored" communication.

As it turns out, there is another as-yet-not-mentioned scenario where a submission "cannot be scored," that is --

When a candidate submits under one Area of Expertise (AOE) but then provides work samples and essay responses to support another - a different - AOE.

Here's a specific example:

Let's start with the original ATD CI essay question...

Original ATD CI CPLP Work Product Essay Question

 Now take a look at a real Candidate's response...


My role in this project was to take the needs analysis conducted by the business analyst and create a course that would help staff develop and practice communication skills while at work. I took the needs analysis and created a two-part course entitled "Confident Communications Parts 1 & 2. I researched the topic, retrieved archived files from a previous session on communication skills (pp. 88-97) and condensed the material down to a two part course. I created the post-course assessment (p. 100), designed and developed the course. Finally, I implemented the course.

Since our clients were internal, the course was created for all staff. The course targeted anyone who needed to brush up on their communication skills. Clients included staff from all locations.

The sponsor was our Senior Vice President. His role was to manage the efficiency and effectiveness of different business functions here, and lead the learning and development function, and technical support for our division. I report directly to the SVP and manage the learning and development department. The SVP sponsors any training initiative or project. He requested I create learning solutions that would meet the needs identified in the needs analysis conducted earlier in the year. His role was also to promote the courses to upper management and the leadership team of which he is a member.

The primary stakeholders were the CFO, the Assistant Vice President of Training & Technology and staff who would take the course. The CFO's role was to provide funding. The other stakeholders provided support and communicated the project to upper management.

The project team members included the L&D trainer, project support specialist and the marketing specialist. The L&D trainer provided me with feedback during the design and development of the course. She participated in a pilot session of the course, after which she provided feedback. The project support specialist helped me with operational details such as the logistics of implementing the course. She calendared the courses, created fliers and some job aids for the course pp. 27-41). The marketing specialist created marketing pieces for the courses, which were emailed or past out prior to the course launch p. 28).


Given the Candidate's narrative response, which Area of Expertise...

  • Instructional Design
  • Managing Learning Programs
  • Training Delivery
  • Performance Improvement 
...would you assume this submission was submitted under?

::scroll down for the answer::

This essay response was used in a Training Delivery submission.

Do you see the disconnect? Can you tell what went wrong?

Write your thoughts in the Comments below!

Put your "Rater cap" on --

How would you advise this candidate?

What can the candidate do to improve a new submission in the next cohort?

I look forward to reading YOUR comments and insights below!

~ trish 

p.s. If you're looking for help with your CPLP Work Product submission, consider joining my online program.

The program follows my 4-step framework for CPLP Work Product:

1.       Strategically Plan Your Work Samples & Submission
2.       Completing Your Project Work
3.       Assembling Work Samples & Writing Narrative Responses
4.       Packaging & Shipping

Enrolled participants receive Orientation materials (including a checklist and step-by-step, AOE specific recorded session) to help them get started with their submissions right away - within 24 hours of enrolling.