ID Badges: My Experience with TIfPI’s Certification

Last month, I earned my badge for Instructional Design: Goal- or Problem-Based Scenarios [ID(GPS+)] from The Institute for Performance Improvement (TIfPI). The “plus” and gold color signify that this is an outstanding level badge, meaning I received an outstanding rating on at least 7 of the 9 standards.

Certified GPS PlusHow It Works

TIfPI uses 9 standards to measure and rate ID work samples. Each of these standards is mapped to performance behaviors, detailed in a Word document.

  • Addresses Sustainability: Considers the best usage of resources (time, money, materials, staffing, technologies, etc.) now and in the future.
  • Aligns Solution: To create or change relationships among parts of the solution (internal to the solution) or between the solution and its parent organization or sponsors (external to the solution).
  • Assesses Performance: Evaluate what the learner does within the learning environment using a specific set of criteria as the measure or standard for the learner’s progress.
  • Collaborates and Partners: Works jointly with sponsors and other members of the solution development team to develop the solution.
  • Elicits Performance “Practice”: Ensures that the learning environment and practice opportunities reflect the actual environment in which the performance will occur.
  • Engages Learner: Captures and keeps the participant’s attention and interest through active participation, practice opportunities, feedback, and reflection.
  • Enhances Retention and Transfer: Ensures that the learning environment creates and measures recall, recognition, and replication of desired outcomes.
  • Ensures Context Sensitivity: Considers the conditions and circumstances that are relevant to the learning content, event, process, and outcomes.
  • Ensures Relevance: Creates content and activities that address the learner’s background and work experiences.

Instead of providing a single broad certification covering all aspects of instructional design, TIfPI decided to create microcredentials or badges. Currently, the badges are all based on different types of deliverables: asynchronous e-learning, instructor-led training, coaching, job aids, community of practice, mobile learning, etc. They plan to add additional badges in the future.

To earn a badge, you complete an application form explaining how you met all of the standards in a project. You provide samples of content (screenshots, a page from a storyboard, planning documents, a short video, etc.) to demonstrate what you say you did.

Your application receives a double blind review by two peers in the field. These reviewers use a rubric to determine how many of the performance behaviors for each standard you demonstrated. For each standard, you can receive an Outstanding, Acceptable, or Insufficient rating. If you get at least 7 Outstanding ratings, your badge is gold instead of blue, and your designation has a plus sign. For example, a normal badge for asynchronous e-learning would be ID(AEL); an outstanding badge would be ID(AEL+).

There’s a few other pieces of paperwork too: an attestation from a supervisor or client saying you did the work you said you did, a code of ethics, etc. The badge is valid for three years, after which it must be renewed by either doing professional development or earning a badge in another area. The badge costs $295.

My Process

To start, I attended a webinar explaining the process. I spent time reviewing the handbook and all the standards. I had a project in mind for the certification. This was an e-learning course which included a branching scenario and a job aid. I debated between going for the Asynchronous E-learning (AEL) badge and the Goal- or Problem-Based Scenario (GPS) badge. I think I could have done both badges with this course. Initially, I wasn’t sure if this would really meet the requirements for the scenario badge. The branching scenario is a 10-minute activity within a 60-minute course. I’m focusing my business on scenario-based learning though, and I wanted the more specific credential to match my specialization. After some discussion with Sharon Gander at TIfPI,  I decided to go for the GPS badge and really concentrate on the branching scenario within the context of the larger course.

The application took me about 10 hours to complete, and I did the entire process from webinar to application in about a month. In comparison to the CPLP, which takes 120+ hours and a year to complete, this seemed quite reasonable. In fact, that’s one of the reasons I chose this certification.

After submitting the application, I found out in about two weeks that I not only earned the badge, but earned it at the outstanding level. I added the badge to my website, LinkedIn profile, and the About page of my blog. The badge includes verification so you can click a link or image to check that it’s authentic.

Why I Chose This Certification

In the field of ID, we perennially debate whether everyone needs a degree in instructional design or not. I don’t have one (I have a bachelor’s of music education), so you can guess which side of the debate I’m on. I first posted about this back in 2008, and I’ve periodically joined this discussion since then. I’ve argued that although master’s degrees are valuable, that shouldn’t be the only path to this field. There are lots of “accidental instructional designers” who didn’t set out to be IDs, but found their way to this field, usually switching from another career. Although I don’t think a master’s degree should be mandatory, the industry would benefit from a way to differentiate between IDs who are deliberate and reflective in their practice and those who aren’t working to improve. Seven years ago, I argued that if we had an evidence-based certification, that could be one tool for people who came to ID from an alternate path.

The ID Badges are an evidence-based certification; it’s based on a real work product that you created. I didn’t want to do something with an exam; I wanted this to be about the work I actually do. Although I have some other certifications from previous jobs (CTT+ and Expert Synchronous Producer), I didn’t have anything formal saying I knew how to do instructional design. The market for IDs can be crowded at times. A certification is one way to differentiate myself; I can show prospective clients how my work has been reviewed by my peers and deemed “outstanding.”

Realistically, I didn’t want to spend $800 or $1000 on a CPLP, not to mention the time commitment. The CPLP is a bigger certification that measures more, and it’s certainly more well-known (at least in the US). TIfPI’s ID Badges are a relatively new certification program. They don’t have the name recognition of ATD and the CPLP, although I hope in time the ID Badges will become more recognized.

Even without wide recognition, I wanted that double blind peer review of my work. I wanted to see what someone thinks of my work when they don’t know my blog or my online brand. I wanted to validate that what I’m doing is on the right track. This certification gives me that personal validation.

Your Thoughts?

Have you considered a certification? What was your experience? Does it help you get more work or justify the work you do? If you hire IDs, do you look at certifications when making decisions? Tell me in the comments.


Filed under: Careers & Work, Instructional Design, Storytelling & Scenarios

Next Generation Learning at ASAE Great Ideas

ASAE Great Ideas LogoThe ASAE Great Ideas Conference kicks-off this Sunday in Colorado Springs and the “Next Generation Learning” track will again be a key part of the content. I think it is worth highlighting what will be in the track and who will be presenting. The agenda provides a pretty good glimpse into the ideas that many forward-thinking associations are already implementing and that will move into the main stream in coming years.

The following is verbatim from the Great Ideas Web site, though I have included links to presenter Web sites – all of these are people/orgs worth following, whether on their blogs, Twitter streams, Facebook pages, LinkedIn profiles, or whatever other method you choose.

Five-Minute Forecasts on the Future of Learning

Based on the fast-paced, straight-shooting format of the hit television show, Shark Tank, thought leaders will present 5-minute predictions for the future. Contestants will be judged on creativity, probability, and progressive thinking by a panel of association leaders and an audience of their peers.

GAME ON! The Power of Online Games and Why Associations Are Playing Along

Games have an unmatched ability to create and unite community. Associations can capitalize on this trend by using online games, which can help recruit new members and spark the next generation’s interest in their profession. Learn from one organization’s successful venture into this area and what contributing factors you should consider when developing and deploying a game-based learning initiative at your own organization.

Collaborate, Innovate, and Accelerate Association Learning

The future favors learning that is collaborative, social, personalized, and on-demand. Uncover a portfolio of innovative options, and collaborate with a team of like-minded colleagues to design a strategy and plan future steps for making bold and exciting changes to your association’s learning opportunities.

Is Your Credentialing Program Future-Ready?

The workplace and credentialing environment has changed. Applicant expectations have changed. Employer and other stakeholder expectations have changed. But, has your program changed accordingly? In this hands-on session, credentialing expert Mickie Rops, CAE will lead participants in an exploration of five big changes in credentialing, their potential impact on existing or new programs, and strategies to increase the odds of your credentialing program’s success.

Leading the Learning Revolution: How to Thrive in the Modern Lifelong-Learning Education Market

Based on the book, Leading the Learning Revolution: The Expert’s Guide to Capitalizing on the Exploding Lifelong Education Market this session will focus on the tremendous changes that are taking place in the global market for adult continuing education and lifelong learning. It highlights the forces driving change, examines emerging business models, and provides practical tips and guidance for association leaders who want to stay ahead of the competition and truly lead learning in the field or industry their organization serves.

  • Jeff Cobb, managing director, Tagoras

Participant-Centered Education Rules!

Today’s association adult education is a victim to an outdated teacher- and expert-centered model. To better serve our the needs of adult learners, we must move out of the didactic traditional training box. We must refocus on people, their needs and how they learn best. We need to transition from expert-centered models to participant-centered models. In the end, telling doesn’t equal learning. Nor does covering content mean content is learned. Learn the four essential components of instructional interactivity so you can embrace the new model of education where thinking, doing, and participating reign supreme!

Social Learning

When your association builds its social strategy around knowledge management, the benefits create huge potential for further innovation and forward thinking. Learn how social learning can build loyalty and connectedness within your community. Discuss with panelists and attendees the concept of social learning, and review specific examples of its positive impact on your association work.

The Strategic Impact of Hybrid and Digital Events

Associations are often late when it comes to trying something new and potentially risky. Yet, between the years of 2009 through 2011 the nonprofit community was amongst the early adopters in experimenting with hybrid events. While many associations rely on their annual convention as a main source of revenue, ironically some are comfortable in the physical event space as is, and have yet to see the potential of using virtual technology extensions. Why? Join this panel for an informative discussion about the successes and the challenges facing digital events management. Come prepared to engage with the panel and ask pointed questions about monetization, and attendee and content management capitalization.

If you will be at Great Ideas, drop us a line. We’d love to see you in person.

Jeff