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Certifications are learning paths that, when completed, confer certificates of achievement on learners. These certificates can be shared outside of Lessonly, allowing learners to substantiate their skills and abilities.
How to Create Certifications
Admins and users with content creation permissions can create certifications or add certificates to existing paths. There are two ways to create a certificate: by creating one from scratch or by converting a preexisting path into a certification.
Create a Certification from Scratch
Admins and users with content creation permissions can create a new certification on the Content page. Select New Content, then select New Certification.
A dialog prompts you to input a title and an optional description. Select Create Certification to continue.
After creating the certification, you'll be taken to the path builder. This is where you'll design the content of your certification curriculum.
You can embed lessons, paths, preexisting certifications, or placeholders. Placeholders save a spot for content that has yet to be created. Note that placeholders cannot be added after a certification is published.
Create a Certification by Converting a Preexisting Path
You can also create a certification by converting a regular path into a certification path. Locate the path you want to convert on the Content page, then open it. From its overview page, locate the Content Type setting in the right-hand menu, then select Convert to Certification.
If a certificate is added to a preexisting path, or a path is converted into a certification, users who've already completed the path will retroactively receive a completion certificate. In other words, their progress will not be restarted.
Badges are symbols of achievement that learners earn for completing certifications. They allow learners to demonstrate what they know or have been trained to do. Mousing over a badge will reveal the name of the certification it represents and the date on which the learner was certified.
Here's where badges are displayed on the Learn tab.
Badges can be customized in the settings panel on the certification overview page.
By default, Lessonly includes 33 badge icons, the colors of which can be customized using hex codes.
You can also upload custom badge images. Select Upload Customer Badge to launch an upload dialog.
Select the Upload button, then locate the image you wish to make into a badge. Because badges are displayed at a small size, simple images produce the best results. Lessonly recommends PNG or JPEG files with dimensions of 172 px x 224 px.
Should you wish to change a custom badge, you can do so by selecting Remove Badge. Use caution when deleting badge images; this action cannot be undone.
When custom images are deleted, a default badge will appear in their place.
On the overview page, under Certification Settings, is a checkbox. Select this to enable learners to share the certificates they earn outside of Lessonly.
When this setting is enabled the certificate itself will contain a share link.
Learners can use this link to substantiate their achievements and share their accomplishments (on social media profiles, e.g.)
Certification paths behave just like other kinds of Lessonly content. You can assign them to learners, and you can customize them from the certification overview page. Here are the options and settings you can change once your certification has been published:
Revise the description and step order.
Set the certification as optional learning.
Add an approximate completion time.
Add tags for organizational purposes.
Add the certification to the Lessonly for Chrome browser extension.
Add a cover image. This image will appear on the certification card on the Learn page and in the path's page header.
Setting Certificates to Expire
Knowledge domains aren't static. They grow and evolve over time, making mastery a moving target. Certifications should reflect this fact.
By setting your certifications to expire, you ensure that practitioners must periodically refresh their knowledge in order to remain certified. This helps employees stay abreast of the latest developments, tactics, and best practices in their field or vocation.
To set an expiration date, go to the certification overview page, then locate Certification Expiration in the right-hand settings menu.
Clicking Edit will open a submenu containing various expiration conditions. Certificates can be set to never expire, to expire once, or to expire on a recurring basis.
Never Expire: Once earned, the certification will stay valid, always. This is the default setting for all new certifications.
Expire Once: The certification will expire on a date of your choosing and will not automatically renew. Instead, certification must be manually reassigned.
Expire On a Recurring Basis: The certification will expire and can be renewed periodically, every year for example. Certificates will expire if learners don't complete reassigned certification paths by their expiration date. If learners complete the path prior to the certificate's expiration, however, their certificate will be renewed and there will be no lapse in their certification.
After selecting an expiration behavior, select the date on which the certificate will expire (if applicable). You can set certificates to expire on a specific calendar date* (e.g., January 1, 202X) or after an interval of days, weeks, months, or years.
You can also automate the reassignment of certification paths. When certifications are set to expire on a recurring basis, coursework will be reassigned 30 days before the certificate expires. This 30-day interval cannot be changed, but you can give renewal assignments a custom due date.
Learners who've earned certifications that can be automatically renewed will receive an email like the one pictured below. If a due date has been added to the assignment, learners will also receive automatic reminders as the due date approaches.
Learner Point of View
On the Learn tab, Certifications are differentiated from other content by a badge in the lower-right corner of the topic card.
After selecting a certification, learners can browse its contents. A green bar visualizes progress toward completion. If wait steps have been added to the learning path, learners will not have immediate access to every lesson. Instead, they'll have to complete prerequisite content or wait until the date on which new lessons are unlocked.
Learners can see which of their colleagues have earned certification, or are working toward it, by clicking the link that reads "Who else is taking this certification?"
Selecting this link opens a window that lists all learners and their progress toward certification.
📝 Note: You can make certification activity private by disabling social sharing. To do so, select the gear icon > Settings > Training Content Settings. Next, clear the check box labeled "Allow users to view other learners taking the same certification."
After learners complete a certification, they receive confirmation by email, and their Learn page is updated to display a badge of achievement.
Selecting a badge will open the certificate it represents. Users can print the certificate or copy a share link to display the certificate outside of Lessonly. When certificates are set to expire, the expiration date is published on the certificate itself.
If learners fail to renew a certificate by its expiration date, its badge will be grayed out, as pictured below, and the certificate itself will be updated to indicate that it has since expired.
Expired certifications will be grayed out everywhere they appear in Lessonly. Here's what an expired certification looks like on a user's overview page.
Reports of certification data can be found in two locations: on the certification's overview page and on the insights dashboard. Read on to learn about both reporting tools.
Performance Data on the Overview Page
The certifications overview page shows assignment data (complete, incomplete, awaiting grade), and the ability to navigate directly to the Gradebook to export this information into an excel sheet.
On the certification overview page, trainers can see which learners have completed the certification and whether learners' certificates are current. Yellow circles indicate certifications that have expired.
Certifications Report on the Insight Dashboard
On the Insights dashboard, admins (and users with people management permissions) can download a Certifications Report, located under the More Reports tab.
This report lists users, the certifications, and the dates of completion.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. If I unassign a path or remove it as optional learning, what happens to learners' badges?
A. If a learner's access is removed (archived, unassigned, etc.) the badge, too, will be removed.
Q. Can I issue certificates in languages other than English?
A. Yes, system text will display in the user's system language. When a certificate is shared, however, its public-facing version will be rendered in English.
Q. Can content different from the original certification path be used to renew a certificate?
A. No, only original path contents can be used to renew a certificate. You can revise these contents, but you can't substitute one piece of content for another. Let us know if you're interested in making different content eligible for certification renewal.
Q. What happens to a certification if a content creator changes the expiration date?
A. Changes to certification dates will not impact extant certifications. For example, say a learner completes a certification with an expiration date of January 1, 202X. That certification will still expire on January 1, even if the expiration date is later updated to February 1, 202X. If learners are reassigned a certification path (automatically or manually), and they renew their certification, the renewed certificate will reflect the updated expiration date.
Q. Can I add an expiration date to a certification if learners have already completed it?
A. Yes, but the expiration date won't apply retroactively. Learners who've already completed the certification will need to retake it once you've set an expiration date. Thereafter, any certificates learners earn will expire on the date you specify.
Q. Suppose I create a new certification path and set it to expire in one year. Then, I add a lesson to that path that learners have already completed. Finally, I assign learners the new certification without restarting their progress on content they've already completed. Will certificates, once earned, expire one year from the date they were awarded, or one year from the date of previously completed content within the certification path?
A. Certificate expiration dates trump the completion dates of path contents. For example, suppose learners complete a lesson in March. That lesson is later added to a certification path in July, and the path's certificates are set to expire one year after being awarded. Any learner who completes the certification path in July will be awarded a certificate that will remain valid until July of the following year.
Q. What happens if a learner completes a certification path less than 30 days from the expiration date of that certification?
A. If a learner completes a certification path within 30 days of the certificate's expiration, the learner’s certificate will still expire on the expiration date. If an automatic renewal workflow exists, learners will receive an email notifying them that their certificate will expire in less than 30 days and they will be reassigned the certification path in order to renew their certificate.
Q. What happens if a certification has another certification path nested in it? If the parent certification expires, will the child certification expire too? Or vice versa?
A. No. Each certification path will respect its own expiration settings. For example, if a parent certification path includes a child certification path within it, and the parent certification path expires, the child certification path will remain valid and operate under its preexisting expiration rules. Similarly, if a child certification path expires within a parent certification, the parent path will not be affected.
Q. What happens if a user assigns a certification path with expiration/renewal logic and sets the assignment to recur?
A. Both settings will be honored. By scheduling a certification path to recur, learners may receive assignments or renewal reminders within a narrow time window, creating a potentially confusing experience. However, this scenario can be easily remedied by either changing the expiration/renewal logic of the certification or deleting the recurring assignment from the scheduled assignments queue.
Q. I'm a manager and I need to verify the certificates my learners earn. Can this process be automated?
A. It can with the help of triggers. First, create a lesson with an upload response question, one that instructs learners to upload copies of their certificates. Next, set a content trigger to assign this lesson after learners complete their certifications. When learners complete their certifications, the trigger will fire, assigning them the task of uploading certificates for your review.
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