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Connecting Learning, Coaching, Practical Experience and Certification

Thanks to Christina for sharing:

The truth hurts

Let me introduce you to Alina. Alina is 18 years old and has just graduated from a higher technical educational institution.

Stating what you’re good at the hard way

Having a job besides studying would be beneficial. Alina takes a look back at what she learned : Classic educational topics like language training, mathematics, chemistry, etc., but also a lot about project management and IT competencies. 

She starts to create a competency matrix – because that’s what you do. It takes a long time trying to remember everything, judge what is important and what isn’t, estimating her own competencies, grouping her skills – but eventually she’s content with the representation of her own skills.

Weakness in Numbers

Taking a look at her graduation certification she experiences a harsh disappointment:

Project Management: 2, Software Development: 1

That’s it? A single number? Oh wait! There are the school's official learning plans! What? 2 paragraphs with abstract definitions for working in IT? All in all this is a statement proclaiming:

“I was among the best in an educational facility - and this paper's worth is tied to the reputation of said facility”.

Queen of something that is important

Well Alina wasn’t top of her class for nothing. Fortunately she was smart and took the opportunity of participating in exams for open market certifications that were organized by her school. She’s an:

Object Oriented Programming Junior Starter, issued by the Important Software Foundation

She even got a digital badge for it on Acclaim and posted it on LinkedIn! HA! And everyone knows that very big and important contracts are given to companies who employ people with certifications.

Feeling better with her chances for application Alina leans back:

“It is confirmed that someone important has certified that I have concerned myself with their technology.”

Hard work – cryptic confirmation

Finally Alina takes out her resumés for summer jobs she took. That was about the money, but she obtained some practical training and a new trick or two. With some distance to the jobs these don’t say too much about her skills and training, but at least they confirm she did well.

By using this very secret human resource code language I confirm that you – dear reader of the human resource department of the other company – can count on this person being someone good.

A disappointing experience for everyone

That was an exhausting and tedious task for Alina – and is about to get tedious for her potential employer as well. Scanning resumés, interpreting summaries and certifications, holding assessments – time consuming and hard work that would be better spent on assessing Alina’s soft skills or just having a chat to get a feeling if both parties are on the same page.

Connecting the good job everyone does

Why was reflecting on Alina’s skills such an unrewarding experience when absolutely everyone involved had the best intentions and did well? Because there was no common ground.

Checking Alina’s journey we can see that official industry certification seems to be a major player in the process, but then again – how does that help? A school can not and should not teach the plethora of skills involved in a certification, nor should they make themselves dependent on companies on the open market. Companies offering summer jobs can’t offer full certification training for youngsters who are just working there for a short time.

But what if there was a way to confirm that someone learned a fraction of what is needed for a certification at school? That someone put a small piece of what is needed for certification to use in practical experience?

Official Certification: The Key and Breakdown

SkillDisplay works with certifiers to achieve exactly that. We give them the means to break down their big Certifications into smaller pieces and connect those pieces by recommended learning order, forming a SkillTree.

What does that mean for Alina?

Self-Assessment: Stating what you’re good at the easy way

Over the course of her learning experience (which is usually lifelong), Alina can check all the skills she considers to have mastered via a Self-Assessment button. No matter where or how she learned it. Each skill also features recommendations for learning resources by the, as well as suggestions for other resources that have been tagged with the according skills. As she continues her learning journey SkillDisplay suggests the next skill she should tackle, based on her progress. This is the same as writing them in a resumé, only without the tedious work of writing it in a resumé!

She doesn’t have to define the skills, as they are already worded by the body who knows best about the respective field of expertise – the certifier. Creating a resumé for an application now becomes a matter of a single button click. She saves her SkillDisplay profile to a PDF which can be shared or sent. A security QR code ensures that the recipient can check the validity right on the SkillDisplay platform.

Educational Verification : Confirmation for your trainings

Alina was a student of an outstanding school with very engaged teachers. Those teachers can and should continue to do exactly what they did before. They just cherry-pick the skills that match their existing learning material and create a so-called SkillSet. Once the learning unit is over, Alina can request Educational Verification from her teachers and they can opt to grant or deny this request, based on her performance in the lectures. Suddenly it gets clear that Alina wasn’t just one of the best, but why she was one of the best and that she learned something that contributed 2.46 % of effort towards an official industry certification!

Practical Expertise: Getting acknowledgement for your hands on experience

There are times you hear that a certification is nice, but doesn’t say anything about practical expertise. By verifying the skills Alina did put to use over the course of her summer job, her employer can aid her with communicating her strengths. But Alina isn’t the only one profiting. The company can verify skills of all of their employees during mentoring or even during every day work. If they state which skills are needed for a specific task, they can check if there is staff available to tackle it. When an employee leaves the company, they know if they will lack specific skills in a heartbeat. If they aim at letting their employees get certified, they’ll know when they’ve accumulated enough practical experience to make the attempt.

Official Certification: Helping the certifier to help you

The certifier where Alina did manage to obtain her certification didn’t know about her interest in the respective field of expertise before she applied for certification. In fact they will never know about many interested people – perhaps because a certification is too expensive for them, or just nothing they want to go for at the current point in time.

By breaking down the certification and offering easy to access skills with clear learning goals on SkillDisplay, the certifier gets an anonymous – but much clearer – overview. 

With such insight certification might undergo change as well. If people in your industry learn and develop in small bits and experiences, why not certify in a flexible manner. There are already ideas on how to reinvent enterprise certification.

Becoming a Verifier

Everyone keeps doing what they already did, and just take a second to acknowledge a job well done.

If you want to become a verifier, we’d be happy to have you on board: You can take a look even without registration.


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