I think there needs to be a shared understanding of the fundamental aims of a Moodle Certification programme. Some key points;
1. Moodle Certification must remain completely optional
(The majority of Moodle users may never require or want a Moodle Certificate). For those who are not fans of certification, they can simply ignore it - apply the TV censorship technique - if you don't want to watch something, switch it off
However, for organisational development (e.g. staff training plans), and for individuals seeking a recognition of their skills and abilities, certification has a beneficial role to play.
2. A Moodle Certification scheme for tutors should not be generating large amounts of documentation or required reading etc. - the documentation project is fulfilling this need. The Certification programme should reference this work, and guide candidates towards/through it.
3. Moodle Certification should be competency based. The proposal I have with Martin is for a certification that is 50% project based, and 50% exam based.
Having set-up and worked with many certification programmes over the years, I firmly believe that certification should not be a 'rubber stamp skills checklist'. Certification should be a method of a) helping structure candidates learning and b) promoting reflection on their own professional practice (Martin might term this Action Research - a popular practice in the nursing profession for example).
The well-known 'vendor' certification models are not generally a good starting point; e.g. a Microsoft Office Specialist Word exam is essentially testing the candidates recall regarding the functionality of the application. In no way, shape, or form does it actually stimulate or motivate an exam candidate to produce better documents (e.g. you might know centring and alignment, but which is most appropriate for the business world?).
Any Moodle certification must create a 'learning benefit' for the candidate.
4. The concept I am working on is to have a 50% project course and evaluation, and a 50% exam scheme
In simple terms, candidates produce a course, using whatever functionality they feel appropriate, and then reflect on and evaluate their own course. This is a 'public' course - that other candidates (or indeed any Moodle user) can view - and LEARN from.
The course project and evaluation would contain a document, specified criteria that should be covered, including details of the target audience, the choices of resources, the considerations given to technology (e.g. media, internet speed), etc. etc.
Essentially there is no 'right or wrong' for the course project and evaluation. It's about the candidate analysing and working through their own working practice, and reflecting on the choices they made, and why.
In the spirit of Moodle and Open Source generally, this course, and it's evaluation, are available for review by all.
Given that candidates would decide when their course project and evaluation is complete, all candidates would achieve the first 50%.
5. The exam itself (the other 50%) would be within a controlled Moodle environment, and be a test of candidates knowledge of Moodle functionality - the areas that a Tutor would need to know to effectively deliver and support Moodle courses.
Note: If you think this through fully, it's almost a redundant idea. If a candidate has successfully completed a course project and evaluation they must be competent with the functionality! In essence the exam serves as an authentication method, and for those motivated towards certification, an external recognition of their competence - yes, some people are proud to pass an exam (and why not!)
6. Certification should be available for both Tutors, and Administrators.
(This has a bearing on the 'educational bias' that has been discussed).
(The course project and evaluation for Tutors, becomes a Site set-up and Administration review for Moodle Administrators - more concerned with issues around, technology, back-end set-up, compatibility, etc.)
So, in summary... (in very brief terms)
a) Certified Moodle Tutor (CMT)
50% project course and evaluation - a reflective analysis exercise
50% quiz - covering Moodle functionality (appropriate for tutors) and some educational theory / practice (e.g. basics of group work, online dynamics, collaboration)
b) Certified Moodle Administrator (CMA)
50% site course and evaluation - a reflective analysis exercise on a site set-up
50% quiz - covering Moodle functionality and integration (technically orientated)
Note: I have offered Martin our services to set-up, host
, and coordinate a Moodle certification scheme, so would be really interested in anyone who feels they would like to contribute
(It's a bit like the documentation project... it gives non-technical Moodle users a chance to 'put something back').
In answer to the 'why waste money on certification, just donate it' question, any revenue generated would go back into the Moodle development fund. I also believe that individuals are more likely to pay for a certification opportunity, than simply making a donation. Think about how many organisations have a staff 'donation' fund? Then consider how many have a staff development/training budget that would
support certification fees?