CertMaster Represents the Next Wave of Scientifically Grounded Adaptive Learning

As the world’s foremost vendor-neutral IT certification body, CompTIA is leading the new wave of neuroscience-based, adaptive learning with a comprehensive new training program: CompTIA CertMaster. This new learning tool, designed to help students and professionals better prepare for IT certification exams and future IT careers, goes beyond the typical race to the finish model and features a variety of techniques to help you learn, including adaptive learning, spacing and motivation triggers.

Confidence-Based Adaptive Learning

Rooted in the principles of neurobiology and cognitive psychology, CertMaster starts with priming, which sets up the framework and foundation for the material. Priming is especially helpful for folks who might be overwhelmed by a deluge of new information. It creates a mental picture of what will be covered and later aids in memory accessibility and recall.

Personalized learning is another hallmark of CertMaster. Someone studying for the CompTIA A+ certification exam may fly through questions on hardware but get hung up on OS fundamentals — and start answering questions with CertMaster’s I’m Uncertain button. Here, the program’s data analytics kick in to customize the experience. Incorrect answers feature an explanation, and CertMaster threads in more questions on the difficult topic as the lesson continues.

CertMaster uses spacing, which introduces information over optimal intervals of time.

Tools for Retention

Did you know there’s only so much room in your short-term memory? Cramming for a test might work as a quick fix, but not if you’re looking to remember and recall information on the job. To increase retention, CertMaster uses spacing, which introduces information over optimal intervals of time. The lessons feature just six to eight questions at a time, and offer high-level feedback plus answers and explanations later on. This method of spacing gives the brain time to encode, associate, forget, relearn and store the information. CertMaster’s built-in data analysis also helps determine when users have reached their maximum learning capacity — and when it’s time to take a break.

Taking cues from the video game industry, CertMaster encourages a sense of progression, risk, achievement and curiosity. This pings your dopamine levels — since it feels good to succeed — and creates a positive feedback loop. CertMaster also provides immediate, high-level feedback to encourage learning from mistakes and prevent course abandonment.

CertMaster Launches Next Month

While CompTIA is not the first to use this type of training, we’re hoping the unique approach built on proven science will help us with our continued goal of increasing the skills and knowledge of the workforce. CertMaster is designed to help people quickly master information, but retain it for the long-term. It’s important to be able to recall information when it counts: on the job, in school and during the certification exam. Having a solid grasp of the material is a direct path to being able to perform with confidence.

CompTIA CertMaster will be available to the public in June 2014, with lessons for CompTIA A+, CompTIA Network+ and Strata IT Fundamentals. Users can try CertMaster on desktops, laptops, tablets and smartphones, with iOS and Android applications available. The program’s multiplatform design lets you pause and switch back and forth between devices.

For a more detailed look at how CompTIA CertMaster is built on proven science, read our whitepaper, “Online Learning’s Next Frontier: CompTIA CertMaster and the New Science to Learner Success,” coming soon. For more online, visit www.certmaster.com when then website opens in June.

Terry Erdle is CompTIA’s executive vice president of certification and learning.

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