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Andrew Jacobs

London Borough of Lambeth

Learning and Development Manager

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Elearning certificates


We're looking to improve the completion of reactionnaires for our elearnign offering and one suggestion has been to offer participants a certificate when they complete a module.

Now, call me cynical, but would that make ANY difference?

Does the community here expect to get a certificate for completing a 15-20 minute elearning module that is not linked to any form of accredited programme?

8 Responses

  1. Certificates

    You can call me cynical also, but I don’t think giving people certificates would make the slightest bit of difference, especially as they are not part of an accredited training programme.

    There are organisations out there that can help you offer accredittion for staff development activities, for example SEDA (


  2. horses for courses

    Hi Andrew

    I’m not sure whether you just want to know whether this "incentive" would work or whether you’d like other ideas….

    In answer to the first question the answer has got to be "sometimes"….some people like to get certificates, whether it is an accredited programme or not……I doubt that, the world being full of cynics, you’d find it a particularly significant number of people but you may get some to do them.

    To move on to the more generic concept of other ideas;

    ~you could make the reactionairre a part of the elearning programme itself so they don’t finish until they have done it

    ~you could put everyone who does it into a prize draw

    ~you could make it a three line whip with penalties for failing to complete it

    ~you can make it very easy and simple (I came across one that 75 questions….guess how many people bothered with that one!)

    ~you can offer people a choice of "complete it now or be bombarded with reminders for the next three weeks"

    ~or I’m sure the IT guys could make it so that the delegate can’t log out until they have completed the reactionnaire.


  3. It’s a bit of both

    "I’m not sure whether you just want to know whether this "incentive" would work or whether you’d like other ideas"

    I’m not convinced that the offer of a certificate will necessarily improve the quality of the data we get back.  It may improve the % of learners completing an evaluation but it won’t necessarily improve the data.  I see these type of certificates as ‘merit badges’.  I accept that some people are motivated by them but am wary of them maintaining a parochial command and control culture of learning that we want to move learners away from.

  4. Creating a Gen C

    I’m with Andrew and Phil on this. I don’t think certificates for non-accredited courses make any difference to learners. In fact, we have created a culture of certificates for everything, especially in our children. My kids come home with certificates for attending a holiday club or 3 football-coaching sessions. They toss these bits of card as worthless. Makes me think we are creating ‘gen C’ (as opposed to gen X or gen Y), who look down on certificates as generally very low value. In fact my latest column in elearninage magazine reflected on just this topic. Since the hard copy magazine is only just published you can see it online for a few days more at



  5. eLearning Certificates

    Some people are motivated by certificates and like to have a tangible record of their achievement. If, however, it is only about increasing responses then stick to the usual ‘reward’ methododology, prize draw, disounts off future training events, that kind of stuff.

    — Terry George MCIPD Training Consultant

  6. Elearning certificates

    I’m with Rus on this one. We make some of our elearning mandatory in preparation for classroom-based learning, and the certificate – showing their score for the elearning module – is generated when they finish it and not before. No certificate, no classroom-based advanced module. Doesn’t guarantee they’ve learned anything, or taken it at all seriously, but we can start with a higher baseline assumption of knowledge than would otherwise be the case.

  7. Now, call me cynical, but would that make ANY difference?

    — Gardawhi

    Now, call me cynical, but why wouldn’t it make a difference?  Do some people think because it isn’t accredited it is worthless?

    A certificate is tangible evidence and auditors want to see ongoing professional development irrespective of whether it is accredited or not – our managers want to see active involvement and commitment to ongoing professional development. Sometimes this is knowledge based, sometimes it is practical.  Cynical?  Auditors and Educational Managers dont just take our word for it that we have relevant knowledge and skills – they want to see the paper trail  (so untrusting!)

    Does it make a difference? Yes it does!!  Certificates are tangible evidence of a persons attendance, involvement whatever and is located in our professional development folder.  This information, regardless of whether it is accredited or not, is used when determining suitability of a candidate to progress to the next level/step in their professional career pathway.  Also, if a business initiative or project presents itself internally or professional development of other staff, they check to see who might be suitable – one of the things they check is any other certificates – they already know we have the relevant accredited training (tertiary and other professional accredited training) otherwise we wouldn’t be employed – certificates for unaccredited activities show something else

    Certificate?  It is evidence to use for Recognition.  Do it!!

    How do I know this?  Because I work for the government VET provider in Australia and this is exactly how it works

  8. Interesting replies

    There’s some great responses on this thread.

    It looks like we’re saying if the individual doesn’t value certificates there’s no point doing them.  If they do value them, an option to receive one should be available.

    I think Gardawhi has highlighted another issue; professional bodies expect to see a piece of paper that confirms the individual has undertaken CPD.  But if that learning isn’t tested, does the certificate have any value?  It doesn’t demonstrate competence, so does it represent development?

Author Profile Picture
Andrew Jacobs

Learning and Development Manager

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