The Certification & Retraining app allows you to create a certification program quickly and easily. Certifications validate skill levels for various topics. Delivery and expiration policies related to the certifications can be configured according to the specific needs of your organization. Users can earn a certification by completing designated courses and learning plans or external training activity, or certifications can be manually assigned to learners by the Superadmin. This article outlines how to create and manage certifications, and how to view certifications as a learner.
Activating the App
Login to your platform as the Superadmin. Access the Admin Menu from the gear icon in the header of your platform, then select the Apps & Features item in the menu. Once you’re in this area, select the Additional Features tab in the tab menu on the left side. Then, find the app in the list and press the Activate App button. Read the description in the pop-up box, then press Activate Now. The app is now active in your platform.
Once the app is activated, you can manage it by accessing the Admin Menu, then pressing the Manage item in the Certifications & Retraining section. Here, you can create a new certification with a specific period of validity or view the certifications that you’ve already created.
For each certification that you’ve already created, you will see the code, name, description, expiration date, to whom it’s awarded, to which courses or learning plans it’s assigned, and the ability to quickly edit or delete it. By pressing the pen and paper icon, you can edit the name, code, description, and expiration date of the certification.
By deleting a certification using the red x icon in its row, you will delete any relationship between the certification and awarded users as well as assigned courses and learning plans, and your platform will delete all tracking data for the certification. For this reason, we do not recommend deleting certifications.
Creating a Certification
To create a new certification, access the Admin Menu, then press the Manage item in the Certifications & Retraining section. At the top of the next page, press the New Certification button. In the pop-up box, add a name (mandatory) as well as code and description (both optional) for the certification.
Then, decide when the certification expires by entering the number and then selecting the time unit from the dropdown menu. If you insert 0 into this field, the certification will never expire. You can also decide if you will allow users to retake the same course or learning plan to renew their certification by clicking the corresponding checkbox. Please note that if you choose this option, all data related to previous completions of the course or learning plan will be lost once the certification is renewed.
Please note, if users choose to complete the renewal process prior to their certification expiring, their previous completion date will be retained as archived within the Users - Certifications and the Certifications-Users new and old custom reports.
Assigning Courses and Learning Plans to Certifications
Once you've created the certification, you then need to assign courses and learning plans to the certification, so learners will earn the certification upon completing the assigned courses and learning plans. In the certification's row on the main Certifications & Retraining page, select the item in the Assign row. On the next page, press the Assign Items button at the top.
In the pop-up box, flag which course and learning plans you want to assign. When finished, press Confirm. Please note that if you choose more than one course, the certification will be issued when one of the courses or learning plans is completed, not all of the assigned courses or learning plans.
You can also assign a course to a certification in the Advanced Properties area of the course. Once you're in this area, select the Retraining tab and choose the certification from the dropdown menu. Press Save Changes when finished.
An alternative way to assign a certification to a Learning Plan is in the Learning Plan Settings page. Once you've navigated to Learning Plans in your platform, choose one from the list, then select Edit. In the Edit window, select the certification from the Certifications & Retraining dropdown menu. Press Confirm when finished.
Please note that if you assign a certification to a course or to a learning plan already assigned to some users, the certification will be awarded only to those users completing the course, or the learning plan, after the certification has been assigned to it. Users who have already completed the course or the learning plan will not be awarded to the certification retroactively.
It is also possible for users to gain certifications by reporting External Training activities and associating their activity with a certification. The Completion Date specified in the External Training report will be used as the Issue Date on the certification.
Assigning External Training Activity to Certifications
To assign a certification to an external training activity, you must do so from the External Training area of your platform. Access the Admin Menu from the gear icon, then press the Manage Item in the External Training section. At the top of the next page, press the Report New Training Activity button.
In the pop-up box when creating the activity, select a certification from the dropdown menu. When you’ve finished creating the activity, press Confirm. To learn more about creating and managing external training activity, refer to this article.
Awarding Certifications to Users Manually
Users can be awarded certifications in three ways: by completing the courses or learning plans assigned to a certification, by completing an external training activity assigned to a certification, or by the Superadmin (either manually or via CSV files). For the first two options, once a user has completed a learning activity (in the platform or with the external training app) assigned to the certification, it will automatically be awarded to the user by the platform.
To view the users that have already been awarded the certification, press the item in the certification’s Awarded To column on the main certifications management page. On this Awarded Users page, you will see a list of all of the users that have been awarded the certification.
Each user’s row will display the username, first and last name, the date on which the certification was issued, in how many days the learner must renew the certification as well as the expiration date of the certification. By pressing the menu icon in each user’s row, you can edit details related to the certification and the user, or you can unassign the certification from the user.
By pressing the edit item from the menu icon in a user’s row, you can change the issue date, the expiration date, flag the certification as always valid for this user, and modify the association type (manually awarded, course completion, or external training activity completion). When finished, press Confirm.
To manually award a certification to a user, press the Award Users button at the top of the page. In the pop-up box, flag the users, groups, and branches to whom you want to award the certification, then press Next. Now, set the issue date and the expiration date, or flag the Always Valid option so the certification will not expire for the selected users.
Then, select the association type: manually awarded, course completion, or external training activity. If you flag the last option, you need to insert which external training activity was completed. When finished, press Confirm.
The procedure will be run as a background job if the number of awarded users exceeds 100.
Awarding Certifications to Users via CSV
To award certifications to users via CSV files, speeding up the process, press the Import Certification Records via CSV button at the top of the page. On the new page, select your CSV file by pressing the Upload File button. We recommend keeping the settings for the Choose Separator and File Charset sections the same unless you need to configure them according to the file you upload.
The Duplicate Certifications flag is used to manage CSV files containing certification duplicates in the form of duplicated rows in the same CSV file. Leave this option unselected to prevent the import of certification duplicates (should this happen, an error message will be displayed). Select this option to manage duplicates by importing only the last duplicated row in the file, remember that no date check is performed by the import procedure.
Please Note: Awarding certifications via CSV requires the date format to be as follows: YYYY-MM-DD (with dashes [–] instead of slashes [//]). Microsoft Excel often reformats the data to MM/DD/YY, so please double-check before uploading the file into the platform. When you’re ready, press Next. On the next page, use the dropdown menus to match the column names to the columns of the imported file. Then, press Next. The import will be run as a background job, no matter the amount of data to import.
The following columns are mandatory: username, certification_code, certification_issue_date, always_valid and type. If no course is linked to the certification, the certification will be marked as manual. If the always_valid flag is checked, the certification_expire_date is not needed since the certification has no expiration. Refer to this table to find out more details about certification data fields.
The CSV import functionality always stores date and time in UTC format, and convert them according to the user timezone when displayed. Remember to use UTC time in your CSV files.
The newly awarded users will now also appear on the list of the Award Users page.
Notifying Users about Certifications
You can notify learners when they've earned a certification, or when a certification that they've earned has expired. To do so, create a notification using the Notification app. When selecting the triggering event from the dropdown menu, select the Certification has been issued or Certification has expired notification.
For a Certification has expired notification, you should include the [renew_link] shortcode into the description body if you want learners to renew the certification. You can also set the notification to be triggered a certain amount of time (days, weeks, or hours) before the certification expiration in order to give learners time to renew the certification in advance.
Checking the Status of a Certification as a Learner
Learners can check the status of their certifications by accessing the My Activities area of their platforms, then reaching the Certification tab. Here, users can see a list of all of the certifications that they've earned, and they can press the Renew Now link in a certification's row to learn to renew it. For each certification, they can view the certification title, code, description, the date that it was issued to them, date of expiration and number of days in which it should be renewed (if applicable).
Please Note: If users do not press the Renew Now link from My Activities area or from a certification expiration notification, the certification will not renew.
Tips & Tricks
Please keep in mind the following information when working with certifications in your platform:
- Deleting the certification will remove it from a learner's history
- Disassociating a course from the certification will also remove the certification from the learner's history.
- When you re-certify a course, the completion of all training materials associated with the course is reset. If those training materials are in the CLOR, their progress will be reset in all the courses they are associated with. Please note that courses will not change their completion status, only training materials will reset their progress.
- There are two reporting behaviors when using the Users - Certifications custom report:
- If a user renews a certification after the previous certification has expired: The platform will archive the previous certification and its record will be available via the Users - Certifications custom report.
- If a user renews a certification prior to the previous one is expiring: The platform will update the expiration date and won't archive the expired certification record.