Workplace Learning Programs

ASTM International’s accreditation and certification committee (E36) has approved a new standard that will provide instruction for developing and administering competency-based workplace learning (CWL) programs. The new standard (E3416) complements other standards that help to guide organizations developing and administering personnel credentialling programs. 

“A competency-based workplace learning program consists of structured learning experiences that build and assess participant competencies in a real or simulated workplace setting, resulting in the issuance of a credential when pre-determined criteria are met,” says ASTM member Mickie Rops, president, Mickie Rops Consulting LLC. 

Examples of CWLs including apprenticeships, internships, on-the-job training, and residencies. 

According to Rops, CWL programs have attributes in common with certification and certificate programs, yet CWLs are distinct programs. While CWL, certification, and certificate all must have a summative assessment component, there are some differences among the three program types. For example, certificate programs and CWL programs must have a learning component aligned with their assessment, while certification programs do not. 

Additionally, CWL programs must have formative assessments as a specified assessment method; have experiential learning as a specified learning method; and be implemented in a real or simulated workplace setting. Certificate programs may include these qualities, while certification programs do not include them.

“All three credentialing program types can play an integral role in developing and recognizing competent personnel within an organization, a community, or a profession,” says Rops. “It’s important for leaders to understand which program type fits their unique goals and then how to develop and administer them in a quality manner.”

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