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Thought Leaders Exchange (TLX) Washington, DC 2019

Trends, Technologies and Insights for the Assessment Industry

Paul Zikopoulos, Award-Winning Author, Speaker, Future Trends Expert, and VP of Big Data Cognitive Systems at IBM, was the Keynote Speaker for the TLX event that took place in Washington, D.C. August 6 – 7, 2019.

The following topics were explored during the event.

  • Data Strategies for the Future (including Alternative Data Sources)
  • Emerging Technology
  • Credentialing Strategies for the Future
  • Program Structures

Collaboration among industry peers during presentations and break-out sessions elicited stimulating and thought provoking discussions regarding what lies in store with the future of credentialing and certification.

Here’s what some attendees had to say about the event:




Presentations and Speakers

Rethinking IT Certification

Traditionally, IT certification exams have provided evidence that people have the knowledge, skills, and abilities to perform a particular job at a particular level of competency. IT certification is making advances and in many ways is at the forefront of the testing industry; however, the industry has largely continued with a traditional approach to developing and administering certification exams as the sole source of competency evidence. This process and approach are becoming outmoded given the exponential pace of advances in technologies, the dynamic complexity of IT jobs, and the on-the-fly updates resulting from the advent of cloud-based platforms replacing version-based updates. These industry shifts present an opportunity for IT certifications to transform to be more responsive, dynamic, and data-driven than traditional exam development processes and exam formats have previously allowed. This includes the prospect of a more passive approach to the collection of competency data through interaction with apps and platforms collected in real-time as candidates complete their daily work activities. This presentation will summarize the thoughts that resulted from a summit organized to address these challenges and to “re-think” IT certification including what drives it, what value it brings (or not), challenges with the current methodologies, and alternate ways of identifying competence through existing data and/or developing new ways of collecting such data.

  • Liberty Munson, Ph.D., Lead Psychometrician for Microsoft’s Worldwide Learning organization, Microsoft
  • Vikas Wadhwani, Head of Certifications and Assessments, Facebook
  • Russell Smith, Ph.D., VP of Assessment Services and Senior Psychometrician, Alpine Testing Solutions
  • Lisa O’Leary, Ph.D., Director of Psychometrics and Senior Psychometrician, Alpine Testing Solutions

Click here to view the presentation: TLX 2019_Rethinking IT Certification


Looking for Failure to Generate Success: Big Data and the Missing Pieces

As organizations begin to embrace Big Data in their evaluations and predictive models there are a number of lessons we can learn from previous Big Data implementations. In this session we will look at a flipped and often overlooked model of Big Data analysis. We will discuss the human elements needed in Big Data analysis and how many programs miss the forest for the trees.

  • Paul Edelblut, Vice President of Cognitive Computing, Vantage Labs

Click here to view the presentation: TLX 2019_Looking for Failure to Generate Success


Leveling Up: The impact of games on assessment and credentialing programs

What do games offer for your assessment and credentialing programs? Can they be used for assessing knowledge, competencies, and skills? How do they gather and quantify data related to performance? Before you can meaningfully discuss these questions, you need to understand what games are and what they are not. Which elements of games play well for assessment and which don’t? Where do they derive their power? This talk will briefly define key terms and facts about games, provide demonstrations and explanations of games being used for assessment and certification today, briefly share related research efforts, and fuel a discussion on the future of games in assessment.


Knapp Trend Activities

1. The Future of Certification: A Trend Expedition

Join us for an expedition to learn more about key trends influencing the future of certification. While on this journey of discovery, you’ll travel through a series of activities to explore five trends and their implications for the future of your credentialing programs.

2. Designing a Certification Model for the Future

Team competitions to create a future-focused certification model.

Click here to view the Trend Brief used in the Activities: Knapp Trend Brief


Disrupting the IT skills validation and assessment methodology, aka Certifications!

During this session we will discuss the following topics:
1- Why Cisco chose to build out VR rather than go with alternative options that might be less expensive to develop and deploy.
2- How Cisco is going about and/or lessons learned on the development and deployment, next steps.
3- Any training/measurement opportunities possible through VR that would not be possible or as effective using other options

  • Yusuf Bhaiji, CCIE, Sr. Manager leading the Global Certifications Program, Cisco