The first of my three-part blog series discussed the beginning steps on my journey toward becoming a Certified Professional in Training Management (CPTM).

As part of the next step on my road to certification, I participated in a three-day applied practicum experience. I had an idea of what to expect after reviewing our candidate guide and speaking with recent CPTM graduates.

I knew the practicum would consist of a classroom session where an experienced facilitator reviewed the content covered in the modules, affording me the opportunity to ask clarifying questions. Perhaps more importantly, I would be given a chance to apply that content to simulated business scenarios developed by training management experts (SMEs). The practicum certainly lived up to these expectations. However, what I didn’t expect and what turned out to be one of the most valuable aspects of the practicum was the other participants. I added nine learning and development professionals to my network and formed, what I hope will be, lasting relationships on which I can rely as I move through my career.

This amazing group brought with them a diverse set of perspectives unique to their specific industries and roles. Each was faced with a distinct set of challenges that they aimed to address through their participation in the program. For example, one of my fellow cohort members spoke of severe budget cuts across her organization due to industry changes in the standard pricing of their main revenue generating product. Another’s organization was recently acquired by a larger company, producing a need to consolidate two learning and development departments across both companies. A few participants were new to their roles and trying to rapidly gain a sense of their organization’s business goals in an effort to identify how they could contribute to those goals. Still others represented external training service providers who cited a desire to understand their clients’ unique needs as their main goal for the session.

Equipped with our combined wealth of experience and the knowledge and tools we’d recently acquired through our e-learning experience, we set out to solve several business case studies using learning and development solutions. My fellow cohort members did not fail to impress me with their creative ideas and methodical application of the analytic tools we learned. We worked together to address the business issues presented as well as offer solutions to the challenges we each faced in our own roles. Overall, I learned a great deal from this extraordinary group. I benefitted from their go-to strategies and the tips they offered. As a bonus, I expanded my network to include an intelligent and capable group of likeminded colleagues. Before we each said our goodbyes, we exchanged business cards and promised to keep in touch through the CPTM alumni network and personal correspondence. I feel certain I’ll be able to call on these new friends when I’m faced with the future learning and development challenges my role will certainly bring.

Now, armed with their support and the immense body of knowledge I’ve gained, it’s time to take my certification exam. In my next blog, I’ll share with you how that goes. Wish me luck!