The Journey to Building a Certification Program

post journey to certification
Rachel Rheinhart
September 25, 2023

Our recent LinkedIn Live session, Elevating Credentials: The Journey to Robust Certification, was an awesome crash course on building a certification program. 

Stephanie Runyan from HRCI was joined by Thought Industries’ Director of Customer Marketing, Kristine Kukich. They discussed all things certifications, from content strategy to pricing and packaging, smart integrations, and the pitfalls to avoid. You can watch the whole event here, and keep reading for your highlights! 

Listen to Learner Feedback

One great tip right out the gate from Stephanie was to listen to your learners! HRCI has a feedback mechanism on the Thought Industries platform. At the end of each course, learners can provide input about courses they’d like in the future, or topics where they’d love to see more content. 

HRCI also utilizes newsletters, social media platforms, and specific community features that allow for feedback from the community. Engaging in those conversations and getting feedback directly from the learners, whether virtually or face-to-face, is really important. 

However, when it’s time to build out the exam itself, the process is a little different.

Certifications can’t stay dormant, they need to remain current. The cycle at HRCI starts with a job task analysis where a panel of active volunteers in the industry support exam development by looking at exam content outlines. These volunteers help decide what’s relevant and what needs updating, and then the exam goes through the process of being accredited through the relevant body. 

Benchmark Pricing and Packaging against Your Peers

When the time comes to price courses and certifications, HRCI looks to their competitors to see how they are pricing and packaging their content, and then prices their own content competitively across the board. HRCI also uses a 15% discount coupon to help engage and attract learners. 

Establish a Notification Flow for Certification

It was great to hear Stephanie discuss how easy it is to build out content on the Thought Industries platform! Courses and catalogs can be built in-house, all without the need to rush to IT for every development change. 

Once learners earn a certificate of completion, there’s a 3-year commitment with HRCI to show that you’re staying current. If you’re using this kind of recertification to keep learners current, it’s important to put a notification process into place. This means that learners can stay on top of their credentials and digital badges with ease, and recognize when it’s time to recertify. 

On the TI platform, once learners sign up for a course, you can auto-send notifications to keep learners engaged with the content. This can be a good strategy either standalone, or in combination with an internal notification strategy via email or newsletter. 

Look for Ways to Reduce Manual Data Entry

For HRCI, once a person is certified and using the learning center for recertification, the integration between Thought Industries and HRCI’s back-end processes has been really helpful. When a learner completes a course, that’s automatically logged in the recertification process. This makes it as easy as possible to keep accurate information up to date. It also eliminates that manual effort and data entry. 

HRCI also has a strong presence at HR conferences, which is a great way to get their certifications noticed. They use their Approved Provider Program to pre-approve courses for credit, expanding their reach and impact. 

Don’t Run Before You Can Walk! 

Stephanie finished off the jam-packed session with some advice about starting out on the Thought Industries platform. Her #1 piece of advice was to take your time! 

With certifications, remember that you’re tied to the standards and processes of the accreditation body, so you may not be able to rush the process. But of course, it’s worth it to make sure you’re building a robust certification program that is recognized in the industry,

Make Sure to Register for COGNITION23!

This session was so full of hard-earned value from HRCI, sharing their well-worn path to success! You can see more of Kristine during this years’ COGNITION23, our virtual conference coming up on October 3rd-October 5th. Kristine will be sharing her insights on Tracking and Reporting on the Impact of Learning, including Revenue, Referrals and Usage. Register for COGNITION23 here

Meanwhile, if you want to hear more about building a great certification program, you can watch the full session with Kristine and Stephanie right here.

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