Towards an Open Source Accreditation Scheme for Drupal

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This is a live blog of the session “How Do You Know that Gal Knows Drupal? Towards an Open Source Curriculum and a Community-Based Accreditation Scheme for Drupal” by Heather James and Dominik Lukes at DrupalCon London.

This session is a presentation on the current and future state of training, certification and accreditation for Drupal.

Heather, one of the presenters was the volunteer coordinator for the pre-conference training. The majority of people in the room consider themselves Drupal trainers… (should be an interesting conversation).

The start of this presentation provided a foundation of knowledge and definitions for terms.
competencies: relate to real life needs can be linked to learning materials and can be easily assessed.

Certification is not an exam… it is a statement by a trusted body about the level of competence of the certified person. it can be based on exam results, observed performance etc.

Drupal until now – has been “word of mouth” reference. Demand is now outstripping the available talent.

There was a certification panel at DrupalCon Chicago and there have been efforts to Drupal certification – this is a continuation of that conversation.

Learning from other Certification Programs:

  • Paper based exams
  • Performance based assessment
  • Portfolio assessment

The presentation covered a variety of the different certification programs for software… including Typo3, Cisco and others.

Mozilla’s Program was covered next. In that program “Badge Issuers” create “Badges” (a quantifiable evaluation of your abilities) that learners can “earn” and have a “badge pack” that can be displayed.

This system has been tested in a variety of settings. Community organizations and paid providers set the questions etc. and its reviewed by peers.

Some questions raised and debated in the session:

  • What if there were a variety of training methods and assessment methods with all information federated and validated?
  • What if curriculum development was like open source code development?
  • What if it was public, has maintainers, relies on patch submitters, has development branches, has numbered releases, has automatic test, api’s and coding standards.
  • What would that look like for Drupal? Publicly accessible guidelines organized around competency areas each with a maintainer responsible for patches and version releases. Each competency denies compatibility with different types of learning matrerials and activites and acceptable assessment methods.
  • What if training providers were free to share materials compatible with competencies or could use the curriculum to develop commercial materials.
  • Could Certification Providers review portfolios from training companies? They would need to sell and earn the trust through the community.

The value for the providers:

  • Add value to the participants
  • Offer a better progression of courses
  • Consult corporations to ensure staff skills
  • Develop new materials quickly and consistently
  • Ensure direction of certification
  • Benefit from training experiences of others

This would be good for people getting into Drupal.

The discussion was lively … lots of trainers in the room …

For OSTraining, most of the people who come to our training are not necessarily interested in high level certification. Many of our clients are beginners who just need to know how to run their site.

As an OSTraining reader/client – do you need certification beyond a certificate of attendance ? let us know in the comments.


About the author

Rod holds two masters degrees and has been training people how to do "things" for over 25 years. Originally from Australia, he grew up in Canada and now resides just outside Cincinnati, Ohio.