[lpi-discuss] [LPI-News] Linux Professional Institute changes Recertification Policy

Torsten Scheck torsten.scheck at gmx.de
Fri Dec 8 05:07:45 EST 2006

Anselm Lingnau wrote on 12/05/2006 12:06 PM:
> We're basically LPI's ground crew here (with the executive presumably 

Dear friends:

Please excuse my late response. Whenever I had the time to write, I was
occupied by another flood of messages belonging to this
thread. I'd like to make at least one of those "faceless, nameless,
identity-less non-entities" more tangible. I'm a member of LPI's Board of
Directors. A position which is by the way unpaid and which doesn't permit
any conflict of interests. As a Linux software engineer working in R&D, I'm
quite comfortable in this regard.

First of all: All those who have recently expressed their concerns about
the recertification policy change demonstrated their commitment to LPI as
they invested their precious time on composing understandable arguments.
Thank you very much for all your efforts.

Furthermore, I know at least of Anselm, Karl and Alan that they have been
very active supporters of LPI ("ground crew") and I understand from their
messages, that their trust into LPI is at stake--no matter how bravely
Bryan defends LPI's actions (thank you Bryan, anyway). They feel betrayed,
as they learned about the change only when the policy was officially
effective, even though _they_ are the ones who deal with LPI's policies on
a daily basis. There also seems to be the position among some LPI staff
members that the change wasn't appropriately facilitated. Please be
assured, that I take this very seriously.

The goal of the recertification policy change was to create a balance
between the needs of certificants, employers, training industry,
international standards for certification of personnel, and LPI itself.
When the recertification policy was discussed in 2004, I campaigned for the
longest possible period and for existing certificants to keep their
lifelong active status--be it just for the sake of holding a promise. The
more and more I learned about continuing education frameworks beyond LPI
(for some pointers see [1]), I felt that LPI outsmarted certificants with
the promise of a lifelong certification status--presumably to their own

The value of certification doesn't necessarily obey to the usual rules of a
regular industrial product, i.e. the more candidate benefit and the less
cost, the better. An extreme example would be a certification which can be
acquired without any efforts (low cost) and for which lifelong recognition
is granted (high benefit). This won't make certificants happy in the long
run, as the real value lies in the mutual recognition of certification as
signal for job skills, continuing professional development, training
effectiveness, and service quality among organisations, employees,
applicants, and customers.

As a member of LPI's board I had the opportunity to scrutinise
 and discuss the policy change until I felt comfortable with it.
Being an LPIC-1 myself (August 2000), my critique might have been so
comprehensive, that it was felt that the rest of the world would also be
okay with the resulting policy without any further efforts. ;-)

Obviously, this wasn't the case--at least as long as we just dump the
result onto our community. We neglected two important components of
successful change management--namely understanding and involvement. This
led to perceived "management by remote control", i.e. a prevalent
impression that policy is made by people who are remote from what is
actually happening on the ground. I'm convinced that the change could have
been managed and communicated without causing such an uproar while still
comprising the same change elements.

As a (minor) excuse for this I see the huge work load of LPI's staff. I
assume that after dealing with the board, Area Operations Managers (AOMs),
LPI staff and affiliates (of which some members also carry the certificant
hat) Jim and Scott wanted to quickly finalise the change, so they could
turn to all the other remaining challenges.

When I learned in which way the change would be communicated to the
community, I had a bad feeling, but I didn't insist on revising the
process, which I now regret. I apologise sincerely for troubling you and
wasting your time due to my lack of intervention. Therefore, I promise to
address this issue both at LPI Board level and at the annual meeting of LPI
German within the next two weeks. Policy change drafts which directly
affect members of LPI's community must be communicated early--along with
the rationals--through the existing channels to the respective stakeholder
groups, i.e. through AOMs and affiliates to alumni
and training partners. Besides supporting trust,
predictability and community relationship, this also allows to turn
feedback into an improved official announcement.

I apologise in advance for currently not being able to get involved in
extensive discussions. (I need such a device as Bryan's Treo, which seems
to be capable of transforming thoughts into e-mails during sleep. ;-)


Certification of Persons ­ ISO/IEC DIS 17024

The learning continuity: European inventory on validating non-formal and
informal learning - National policies and practices in validating
non-formal and informal learning

Increasing Value Through High-Stakes Testing

Torsten Scheck <torsten.scheck at gmx.de>  Jabber:torsten at i0i0.de
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software engineer:open standards/access/knowledge:enthgnusiast

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