|Title of Invention||
SYSTEM FOR PLANNING AND TRACKING CERTIFICATION
|Abstract||A system and method for planning and tracking certification comprises generating one or more certification goals by a planner (204) based on a user profile and an authority profile associated with a certification authority. The planner (204) is responsive to user (216) selection of one or more of the generated certification goals for creating a certification plan (210). A tracker (206) that updates the certification plan (210) in response to input regarding achievement of the one or more selected certification goals.|
SYSTEM FOR PLANNING AND TRACKING CERTIFICATION
The present invention relates to system for planning and
tracking certification and generally to the filed of user certification, and
more particularly to meeting the requirements for such certification
using network of interconnected computers.
Background of the Invention
A number of professional occupations have associated certification
requirements. Such requirements are usually specified by public or private
rustitutions, such as national, state or local governments on the public side and
various professional associations (e.g., medical legal, or accounting, etc) on the
private side. For example, state governments promulgate certification
requirements for teachers, nurses, engineer and psychotherapists, among others.
These professionals must meet an initial set of requirements to be licensed or
certified to practice in their state, and must often meet continuing education
requirements, such as additional course work, in order to stay certified.
Once a professional, such as a teacher, is required to satisfy a set of
certification requirements in a state, it is up to the professional to determine what
requirements have been met, what requirements are still needed to be met, and
how to fulfill such requirements. For example, if additional course work is
required, the teacher needs to identify what courses are offered by which
institutions, and must keep track on her own of when those courses axe completed.
Sylvan Learning Systems, Inc., the assignee of the present invention,
provides a web site at ProfessionaITeacher.com that consolidates difficult-to-find
information regarding teaching certification and re-certification requirements for
all 50 states. The web site provides information on certification in each state and
gives necessary forms, recommended reading and course work, and contact
information for the departments of education of each state. The web site also
provides information to certified teachers moving from one state to another state
regarding certification requirements in that state.
There have been several approaches to framing and certifying knowledge
of students and professionals. For example, U.S. Patent No. 5,590,057 to Fletcher
et al. describes a system and method for training individuals in a specific task and
then certifying that the individual knows how to perform the task. One of trie
draw backs of the disclosed system is that if the individual must be certified in-
more than one task, the system does not keep track of multiple requirements that •
need to be completed by the individual.
.U.S. Patent No. 5,788,504 to Rice et al. describes a computerized training
management system that allows managers to develop a training materials
database, correlated to reference manuals. U.S. Patent No. 6,157,808 to
Hollingsworth describes a computerized employee certification and training
system and method for employees that require governmental certification or
licensing. The training system associates employee qualifications, job
descriptions, and training materials to determine if an employee is qualified for a
job. Neither of the systems of the '504 patent and the '808 patent, however, track
user certification requirements that an individual professional might need that are
not training related, such as, for example, background checks or forms. Neither
system tracks training that might occur outside of the employee's company.
U.S. Patent No. 6,561,812 to Burmester et al. describes a system and
method that correlate educational requirements with learning activities in schools,
allowing a teacher to create lesson plans that meet the educational requirements.
In this system, however, the system does not keep track' of student completion of
U.S. Patent No. 6,270,351 B1 to Roper describes an individual education program
tracking system provides an automated means for creating and administering an
entire individual education plan. Embodied in a computer software program and
network, the individual education program tracking system enables teachers, school
administrators, counsellors and parents to enter a student profile, create an individual
education plan for the student based on the student's profile, track the student's
progress, and perform periodic evaluations and assessments. The individual education
program tracking system also automates the completion and submission of various
forms as required by a school district or state department of education. The individual
education program tracking system integrates and automates procedures that meet a
state's or district's legal requirements for administering an individual education plan,
such as entry qualification evaluations and parental authorization.
U.S. Published Patent Application No. 2003/0046265 A1 to Orton et at describes a
method and system for creating and implementing personalized training programs
and providing training services over an electronic network. The method includes
receiving a request to generate a personalized training program by a user: retrieving
feedback surveys associated with the user; assessing the user's knowledge relating to
leadership competencies, working environment, and leadership approaches;
generating a training plan for the user in response to the feedback surveys and user's
knowledge; and tracking the user's progress relating to said training plan. The
invention also provides a method for directing a user to online resources for resolving
specific problems. The invention further enables a user to develop a long term career
development plan and receive automatic email alerts relating to new and existing
resources according to the user's interests and career plans.
Therefore, there exists a need for an automated system and method that
aEow certification planning and tracking progress toward certification goals.
Summary of the Invention
Briefly, according to one aspect of the present invention, a system and
method for planning and tracking certification comprises generating one or mors
certification goals by a planner based on a user profile and an authority profile .
associated with a certification authority. The planner is responsive to user
selection of one or more of the generated certification goals for creatirrg-a
certification plan. A tracker that updates the certification plan in response to input
regarding achievement of the one or more selected certification goals. According
to some of the more detailed features of the invention, the tracker sends e-mail
reminders to the user when a goal deadline approaches.
Further features and advantages of the invention, as well as the structure
and operation of various embodiments of the invention, are described in detail
below with reference to the accompanying drawings.
Brief Description of the Accompanying Drawings
The foregoing and other features and advantages of the invention will be
apparent from the following, more particular description of a preferred
embodiment of the invention, as illustrated in the accompanying drawings
wherein like reference numbers generally indicate identical, functionally similar,
and/or structurally similar elements. The left most digits in the corresponding
reference number indicate the drawing in which an element first appears.
FIG. 1 is a block diagram of a web based system that incorporates various
aspects of the user certification process of the present invention;
FIG. 2 an exemplary diagram depicting a user interfacing with the system
of FIG. 1 for panning and tracking user certification according to the present
FIG. 3 depicts an exemplary flow chart for accessing and using the user
certification system of the present invention;
FIG. 4 is an exemplary System Access page;
FIG. 5 is the template of an exemplary User Home page;
FIG. 6 is an exemplary User Registration page;
FIG. 7 an exemplary New User Page;
FIG. 8 is an exemplary flowchart for creating a user ertification plan;
FIG. 9 is an exemplary User Information Entry page;
FIG. 10 is another exemplary User Information Entry page;
FIG. 11 is an exemplary Certification Requirement Summary page;
FIG. 12 is an exemplary Certification Credit Entry page;
FIG. 13 is an exemplary Certification Planner page;
FIG. 14 is an exemplary Certification Tracker Page;
FIG. 15 is an exemplary Certification Resource Registration page;
FIG. 16 is an exemplar}' an exemplary User Home page; and
FIG. 17 is an exemplary Grant Search page.
Detailed Description of an Exemplary Embodiment of the Present Invention
A preferred embodiment of the invention is discussed in detail below.
While specific exemplary embodiments are discussed, it should be understood that
this is done for illustration purposes only. A person skilled in the relevant art will
recognize that other components and configurations can be used without parting
from the spirit and scope of the invention.
The invention is directed to a computer-based online system. A user
seeking certification can access the data and services through any computer
capable of connecting to a network for planning and tracking certification
requirements. In one exemplary embodiment, the data and services are provided
from one or more servers (or a central station) having access to one or more
databases also connected to a network, and can be accessed through a standard
web browser application, such as Microsoft Explorer or Netscape Navigator. The
instant invention can also be implemented using Intranets systems for user
certification in any governmental or non-governmental agencies as well as public
or private institutions.
The Exemplary Network
Referring to FIG. 1, an exemplary embodiment of a system that
advantageously implements the various aspects of the present invention is shown.
The exemplary system is implemented over a communication network that
provides wired or wireless links to user devices (client devices) 12. The client
devices 12 can be any computing device, such as a personal computer, etc. The
present invention can use the standard Internet protocols for the various devices
12 that connect to one or more servers 10 with access to various types of
databases 24. The Internet 16 is a collection of interconnected (public and/or
private) networks that are linked together by a set of standard protocols to form a
global, distributed network. It should be noted that although the exemplary
embodiment described herein uses a client-server computing model, the present
invention can also be implemented using any other suitable computing models,
such as a central station or a computer mainframe connected to various types of
Under the present invention, client devices 12 can be any device that is
used by anyone seeking user certification information and goal tracking, including
a teacher, a nurse, an engineer, and a psychologist, etc. Examples of wired
devices include personal computers, mobile computers, notebooks, workstations,
etc., which operate under any workstation operating system, e.g., Windows or
Mac OS operating systems. Examples of the wireless devices include personal
digital assistant (PDAs) that operate under an appropriately configured operating
system, such as Palm OS or Windows CE. The devices 12 include a visual
display for providing a visual interface with a user. However, the devices 12 are
also capable of communicating information in any form, including audio and
video form, or in any other form conceivable by one skilled in the art.
The server 10 communicates with the devices 12, also referred to as workstations or client workstati
through the Internet 16 and tlirough network layer interfaces 19. It is to be noted that the network used in
connection with the present invention can use any one of open- or proprietary-
network standards, such as TCP/IP protocols. Any type of suitable wired or
wireless adapters can be used to connect a computer network to a user device 12.
Examples of such adapters include, Ethernet, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, etc.
As shown in FIG. 1, the system of the invention includes one or more
databases 24 that can be managed centrally or in a distributed manner. The
databases, which are accessible by the servers 10, store various information
related to user certification and/or licensing requirements and individual goal data
for each user in accordance with the present invention. Database 24 may contain
user certification requirements for every state, and/or professional licensing
requirements for every state depending upon the type of professional requirements
to be monitored. For example, database 24 may contain certification requirement
data in order to obtain at least one of a teaching certification/re-certification,
nursing certification, certification/licensing for engineers, psychotherapists,
accountants or other professionals. The user certification requirement data
includes at least one of certification requirements, re-certification requirements,
requirements for transferring certification from one state (province or other
government entity) to another state (province or other government entity),
certification forms and contact information for a government entity certification
department. As stated above, the user devices 12 may include a personal
computer, handheld communication devices, or any other devices capable of
communicating with the database through the network.
As is known, the Internet 16 is a distributed network that supports the
World Wide Web ("Web"). The Web refers generally to both (i) a distributed
collection of mter-linked, user-viewable hypertext documents (commonly referred
to as Web documents or Web pages) that are accessible via the Ihtemet, and (ii)
the user and server software components which provide user access to such
documents using standardized Intemet protocols. Currently, the primary standard
protocol for allowing applications to locate and acquire Web documents is HTTP,
and the Web pages are encoded using HTML. WML is the markup language used
for by wireless application protocols, such as that specified by WAP. WAP is an
XML-defined markup language similar to the HTML standard used on the
Internet today. The WAP standard also includes a scripting language similar to
The terms "Web" and "World Wide Web" encompass future markup
languages and transport protocols which may be used in place of (or in addition
to) HTML, WML, XML, WAP and HTTP. The present invention can also
operate on internal networks (Intranets) and networks utilizing different
communication protocols. The Intranet model is typically used internally by
companies to allow access to company information.
A Web Site is a computer system that serves informational content over
the network using the standard protocols of the World Wide Web. Typically, a
Web site corresponds to a particular Internet domain name and includes the
content associated with a particular organization. As used herein, the term is
generally intended to encompass both (i) the hardware/software server
components that serve the informational content over the network, and (ii) the
"backend" hardware/software components, including any non-standard or
specialized components, that interact with the server components to perform
services for Web site users.
The present invention supports an interactive web site. The site provides
user certification requirement data for each state. It is through the interactive web
site that the present invention can be implemented to provide a suitable
teacher/user certification for any governmental or non-governmental agency or
public or private institution. When a professional user logs into the site, he/she can
create a personalized certification goal plan based on information provided by the
interactive web site according to the invention. The goal plan is related to the
certification requirements for a particular state. The professional user can then
track the completion of certification requirements using the interactive software
according to the invention. The site also provides online courses and distance
learning classes that meet course work requirements for certification. Although
the preferred embodiment of the present invention is implemented over a web-
based configuration, it would be appreciated that the present invention can also be
implemented under a configuration that does not require accessing a web-site.
Rather, the interaction between the professional seeking certification and the
computer network may through any suitable non-web based interface.
Overview of Certification Planning System
FIG. 2 is a block diagram that illustrates an overview of an exemplary
embodiment of the system of the present invention. The certification goal
planning system 202 can be implemented on one or more servers 10 or a central
station. The system 202 has a planning module 204 and a tracking module 206.
Data about user certification requirements can be stored in one or more databases
208. In addition, for every registered user, the system 202 creates and stores a
personalized user certification plan 210. The system 202 has an interface 212 to a
network 214, such as, for example, over the Internet or any other suitable network.
A user 216 can access the system 202 through a computer 12, which has its own
interface 218 with the network 214. In an exemplary embodiment, the user 216
uses a browser application on the computer 12 to interact with the system 202.
User certification as herein defined means confirmation or attestation by a
certification authority that a person meets governing standards or requirements in
a user's field of endeavor. Examples of user certification include but are not
limited to certification, re-certification, licensing, re-licensing in such fields of
endeavor as education, medical, engineering, legal, accounting, sports, etc.
Examples of certification authority include federal, state, county, local, municipal
governments, public or private officials as well as governmental or non-
governmental agencies or institutions, among others.
Accessing Certification Planning System
FIG. 3 is a flowchart that illustrates an exemplary embodiment for
accessing and using the system of the present invention. When a user, such as a
professional (e.g., teacher, nurse, engineer, accountant, etc.) accesses the system
of the invention in step 302, a Systems Access page such as shown in FIG. 4 may
be displayed. The System Access page allows a user to access the system of the
invention through a web site provided by a server that is configured to mange
certification plans. It should be noted, however, that the access to the system of
the invention may also be through a suitable non-web based system access means.
The user can also access the system either directly, as explained above, or
through another web site. For example, for teaching certification, links may be set
up in various partner organizations, such as the National Education Association,
so that teachers can access and create certification plans from that organization's
The System Access page includes a log-in section for registered users to
log in. The System Access page also allows unregistered users to create a user
account, which they may access by logging in to the system. Using this page,
registered users can enter log-in information, e.g., user name and password, to
access their account. Once a user's information is entered, a determination is
made as to whether the user is registered or not, as shown in step 304 of FIG. 3. If
a registered user logs in, the system displays the user's home page, as shown in
step 308. FIG. 5 shows the template for a typical User Home page, which
provides various links for managing user certification according to the present
invention. The User Home page may be configured to display suitable
customized messages based on retrieved user profile Information and a
certification authority profile information. For example, if the user is a teacher
wishing to'certify or maintain state certification in, the displayed messages may be
tailored based the related information solicited from the user and the state's
certification requirements. Also, displayed may be messages regarding upcoming
certification deadlines, or information of interest to the user.
If not registered, the user is prompted to register and create an account.
The user can create a unique user name and password during the registration
process shown in step 306 of FIG. 3. FIG. 6 shows an exemplary User
Registration page. The registration process, at a minimum, requires a user to enter
his/her desired user name and password. The initial registration process may also
require the user to enter additional information, such as name, address, phone
number', e-mail address, credit card information, etc. After registration, the system
creates a user account that the user can use to access his or her personalized home
page. Using the created account, the user can create, plan and track progress
toward certification goals in accordance with the present invention. All user-
related information is suitably stored in a data base in corresponding records that
store user profile information.
A newly registered user can use the system of the invention for creating a
personalized user certification plan, as shown in step 310 of FIG. 3. The process
directs the users to a New User page, which enables the user to create his/her
personalized certification plan. FIG. 7 shows an exemplary New User page,
which is the initial home page for 'a user without a certification plan. This page
describes the steps necessary for planning and tracking certification goals,
including the steps for creating the user certification plan, reviewing the
requirements for certification, selecting certification goals, e.g., course and
classes, that would fulfill the certification plan. A "Go Create My Plan" link on
the New User page allows the user to create a certification plan.
I Once the plan is created, the user can access the plan from the user's
home page. Using the user's home page, the certification can be tracked,
modified, updated, as shown in step 312. As described later, the home page also
allows for registering for certification resources on-line.
Creating User Certification Plan
; FIG. 8 shows an exemplary flowchart for creating a certification plan for a
certification authority. In step 802, the system prompts the log in for system
access system. In step 804, the system solicits a set of relevant user information
for creating the certification plan. Exemplary solicited user information includes
but is not limited to, the desired certification authority, e.g., one the states, number
of years of experience in the field endeavor, academic information, e.g., degrees
earned, specialties, and other details. For planning teacher certification in a state,
for example, the system solicits information about years as a teacher, type of
teacher certification, and the certification state of interest.
Based on the user information or profile, the system retrieves an
information contained in a corresponding certification authority profile and
determines certification requirements of the authority for certification, as shown in
steps 806 and 808. Based on the certification requirements of the certification
authority, the system of the invention generates certification goals.
A certification goal comprises performing one or more acts or events that
measure skill in the field of endeavor. For example, a simple certification goal
may require completing three hours of educational credit. The system also
associates the certification goals with certification resources necessary to achieve
the goals. For example, the three hours of educational credit may correspond to a
course in a particular subject, reading a book, watching a video, listening to an
audio program etc. The certification resources are then presented to the user, who
may receive, order, or register for the resources online.
If necessary, the certification requirements may be refined or otherwise
customized based on other parameters, such as Needs Assessment information or
Certification Credit information. Needs Assessment information relates to
strength, weakness or preferences of the user. Generally, such information can be
obtained either objectively or subjectively, for example, by test, examination,
observation, or evaluation. Based on Needs Assessment information, the
certification requirements may be adjusted in determining certification goals, if
required by the certification authority. For example, the user may be required to
meet certain goals, if Needs Assessment information indicates weakness in the
field of endeavor. Similarly, the certification requirement may be adjusted based
on strength or preference in the field of endeavor.
Certification Credit information relates to a user's completed, in progress
or planned activities that may refine certification requirements, if allowed by the
certification authority. For example, certification goals may be reduced, because
the user qualifies for credit for having completed or intending to complete a
course or program in the field of endeavor. As such, the system of the present
invention refines certification requirement based on Needs Assessment and/or
Certification Credit information to determine goals of the certification plan, as
shown in S10. The system of the invention can also prioritize the certification
goals based on defined priority parameters, as described later in more detail, step
Once certification goals are determined, the user is presented with a
planner that allows the user to select certification goals that constitute the user's
certification plan, step 814. The planner can also present the certification
resources that are associated with the certification goals for selection. The
selection may be made from a list of certification resources, such as classes,
courses, books, testing resources, which fulfill the certification goals. The
certification goals can also require filling out forms, reading books, participating
in a lecture (video, audio, live, etc.), and other material: or additional course work
to be completed, etc. In one exemplary embodiment, the user can select
certification goals, for example, classes, courses, lectures, seminars, forms, etc., to
be included in the certification plan by checking corresponding items from a list
of certification resources presented to the user. The system receives the selection
and then generates a personalized user certification plan. As such, the
certification plan can comprise either certification goals and/or certification
Certification Authority Profile
The system of the invention stores certification requirements for each
certification authority in suitable databases. Such certification requirements may
be stored in a variety of ways, for example, as records having fields for storing
information relating to certification requirements of a corresponding certification
authority. As such, the system of the invention profiles each certification
authority based on its specific certification requirements.
User Information Profile
FIG. 9 shows an initial page presented to the user for creating an
exemplary teacher certification plan at a state within the US. However, the screen
can be tailored for creating any other type of user certification plan. Essentially,
the initial screen solicits relevant user information.for creating the user
certification plan. The information solicitation and the entry of user information
can be accomplished in a variety of ways. For example, any suitable interface,
such as graphics, text, audio, etc. can be used.
In the exemplary embodiment shown in FIG. 9, the solicited information
are textual questions presented on the page, and the user enters responses to the
solicited information in defined fields. As shown in FIG. 9, the input into the
fields may be in free form, i.e.3 user text entry, or contain predefined responses
presented by drop down fields, or one or more binary entries, e.g., YES/NO, or
otherwise multiple choice entries, where the user can select an appropriate entry,
among others. For creating the exemplar,' teacher certification, the solicited
information fields include, "Years as a Teacher," "State You Teach In," "County
of your school," "Your Highest Degree," Grade You Teach," etc.
However, additional user information may be needed that can only be
solicited based on previously entered user information. For example, user
information entered in "State You Teach In" field may be needed in order to
solicit information regarding the type of state licenses for which the certification
plan is being created. Under such situations, a subsequent "Create Plan" page can
be presented to the user having input fields presented based previously solicited
user on a previous page. One such subsequent page is shown in FIG 10, where the
pull down field for "Type of License" is presented based on user information
entered in the "State You Teach In" field entered on previous page shown in FIG.
9. Additional subsequent pages can be presented to the user until all the necessary
user information for creating a certification plan is gathered. The gathered user
information is suitably stored in the database along with other user information in
the record that contains the users profile.
Generating Certification Goals
A planner according to the present invention uses user and certification
authority profile information to determine the certification requirements for the
field of endeavor. Based on such requirements, the planner generates certification
goals that the user should achieve to get certified. For example, teacher
certification requirements for a selected state may be profiled in terms of years of
experience, degree, or any other pertinent information. Based on the entered user
information, the planner presents the certification requirement in terms of goals
that the user should fulfill in order to become a certified teacher in the selected
state. The certification goals may correspond to various measurable activities,
including filing out forms, reading books, completing one or more course,
completing a degree program or meeting an other defined and measurable criteria.
In one embodiment, achievement of the certification goals may be measured in
terms of hours, units, or credits for courses, classes, seminar, sessions, etc. In
other embodiments, the goals may be achieved by taking and passing a required
test or fulfilling the requirement of a degree program (e.g., a masters degree). The
goals may also require the user to meet goal-completion deadlines and due dates
as required by the certification authority.
FIG. 11 shows a Certification Requirement Summary page. The
certification requirements shown on this page are generated based on information
in the use and certification authority profiles. This page allows the user to review
the certification requirements. A "Requirement Summary" section shows the state
of certification, the type of certification, the year the user was last certified and the
number of "units" needed to re-certify, as well as the due date for rectification.
While the certification goal measurement is in terms of "units," other goal
measures, such as hours or credits, maybe used to track certification goals.
As stated above, one feature of the invention allows the planner to refine
the certification plan based on needs and preferences of the user. If necessary, the
Certification Requirement Summary page provides links that allows the system of
the present invention to assess needs and preferences of the user, for example at
another site. Such professional assessment information can pinpoint a user's areas
of weakness, strength or interest. Based on such assessment information, the
planner may customize the goals for user certification. As such, the user may use
a "Needs Assessment" link to access his or her needs in the field of endeavor, for
example, by taking tests designed to assess such needs.
Another feature of the present invention allows the planner to take into
account certification credit, for example, for previously taken courses, etc. FIG.
12 is a "Certification Credit" link that allows the system to take into account all
such user activities. This page solicits user information regarding completed, in-
progress and planned activities and their type (e.g., graduate course, workshop,
conference, etc.) that may qualify for certification credit. The planner can also
require the user to enter a credit measurement for such activity, e.g., the number of
hours, unit, or credits earned for the professional activity. Since some programs
are measured in different "units", the page requesting information on the
professional activity credit may include a conversion table where the user can
convert one set of measurement to another. If the professional activity has not yet
been done, the user can indicate that the activity is in-progress or being planned.
In another embodiment, the system enables the user to transfer
certification credit from one certification authority to another. A "Transfer
Credit" link allows the uses to transfer credit earned from another certification
authority to be applied to certification requirements on the other certification
authority. For example, under this arrangement teachers can transfer credits
earned in one state to another.
Once the planner receives a user's Needs Assessment, Certification Credit
and/or Credit Transfer information, it adjusts the certification requirements
accordingly to generate the certification goals to fulfill the certification
The planner can generate certification goals based on defined priority
parameters. For example, certification requirements of an authority may take
precedence over Needs Assessment and/or Certification Credit, when generating
certification goals. Alternatively, temporary or ad hoc certification initiatives of
the certification authority may have lower priority than more permanent and
standard certification requirements, but higher priority than the Needs Assessment
and/or Certification Credit. Under this embodiment of the invention, the planner
generates certification goals based on defined priority parameters that relate to the
certification requirements of of the certification authority.
Planning comprises selecting certification goals. FIG. 13 shows an
exemplary Certification Planner page that allows the user to select the goals for
creating the certification plan. The planner also associates the certification goals
with corresponding resources that facilitate achieving the goals.
In the exemplary Certification Planner page shown in FIG. 13, the user can
choose required courses that have been associated with a generated certification
goal based on the certification, requirements of the authority. The user can select
the required courses by marking a box, for example. As shown, the Certification
Planner page presents various information and links associated with each course
on the list, including course title, the institution presenting the course, course
format (e.g., online, video, or other), course description/summary, etc. In
addition, price information for taking the fisted courses. It should be noted that
completing courses is just one example of certification goals that may be
presented to the user in the Certification Planner page. As stated before, other
examples include but are not limited to requiring the user to take a test, perform an
act, complete a degree, fill out a form, etc.
The Certification Planner page allows the user to create the certification
plan by selecting one or more or all of the certification goals that'are to be
included in the certification plan. As shown, a "Put In Plan" box is associated
with each listed course allowing the user to include one or more selected courses
in the certification plan by marking the box. It should noted that the user may or
may not be required to purchase a course in order for it to be included in the
As explained above, the certification goal list may be generated based on
priority filters. In the Certification Planner page illustrated in FIG. 13, for
example, the courses are listed based on state requirements, state initiatives, and
assessment information, with state requirements having the highest priority and
assessment information having the lowest priority.
Tracking Certification Plan
FIG. 14 illustrates an exemplar)' Certification tracker page that presents
the selected certification goals that are included in the user's personalized
certification goal plan in terms of courses that need to be taken for certification.
The page includes a "Plan Detail" section that lists the selected courses during the
certification goal selection and planning process described in connection with
FIG. 13. Another section of the Certification Plan page indicates how many units
are needed, certification due date, and the number of units that are in the plan, in
progress and completed. In this way, the page provides tracking information for
completed courses, and shows how may units axe need to achieve certification.
Accordingly, the system of the invention includes a tracker that is
responsive to input relating to the completion of one or more selectable
certification goals for updating the user certification plan. Depending upon user's
progress status, the tracker can change the status in order to update the plan. As
shown in FIG. 14, some of the selected courses are initially marked as "In Plan."
The tracker can update the status by changing the status to "In Progress" or
"Completed" as the user progresses with the certification plan.
The tracker can update the certification plan based on a user input or a
non-user, input. As such, the user may or may not be given control in updating the
status of the certification plan. For example, if control is given to the user to
update the certification plan, her or she can check the "Completed" box after
having achieved a certification goal. As such, in one embodiment, the tracker
updates the certification plan based on user input. In another embodiment, the
tracker can update the certification plan automatically, based on status information
received from a non-user, for example an entity that confirms the achievement of
a certification goal by the user. For example, an educational institution can
provide status information that confirms the user has completed a course required
for achieving a certification goal. Either way, progress towards completing
certification goals can be tracked based on input relating to completion or
otherwise achievement of one or more of certification goals for updating the user
In another embodiment, the tracker transmits e-mails to the user in
connection with the certification plan or with respect to one or more certification
goals. The e-mails could be information e-mails, reminder e-mails, or alert e-mail
automatically generated by the tracker based on user information profile, which
includes information regarding the user's certification plan.
Modifying and Updating Certification Plan
Using the Certification Tracker page, the user can also review, update or
otherwise modify the certification plan, for example, by adding, deleting
certification goals. The updating process using the "Update Plan" link can be
configured to accommodate those that are updating the entire certification plan
versus those that are updating work done to date. A 'Take Needs Assessment"
link allows the user to take steps assess needs in the field of endeavor. An "Add
Certification Credit" link allows the user to enter certification credit. A
"Certification Approval" link allows the user to a created certification plan to the
certification authority for approval. Once approved, the system stores approval
information in the user's profile.
Certification resources are associated with certification goals. Although
not necessary, more than one certification resource of the same or different type
may be associated with one or more certification goals. For example, a
certification goal requiring 15 hours of educational credit, may be associated with
5 three-credit courses that may be taken in the same or different educational
institution. Alternatively, such requirement may be fulfilled by a combination of
courses, reading material, seminars, etc. The system of the present invention
includes a certification resource generator that based on a certification goal input
the provides associated certification resources.
Certification resources comprise courses, programs, sessions, seminars,
audio or video lectures, books, tests, forms, etc. A course comprises one or more
lectures relating to a subject in the field of endeavor. A program is a series of
courses constituting a curriculum. A program can be degreed or non-degreed.
The course or program maybe live or self-paced taken on-line or off-line. Thus,
various formats can be used in connection with the certification resources,
including video, audio, live, on-line, off-line, self-paced, etc.
The system of the present invention also includes an on-line module that
allows the user to order, receive or register for resources associated with
certification goals as appropriate. A "Register for Course" link can register the
user for selected course(s), seminar(s), sessions, degree programs online. Upon
completion of registered courses or programs, a user can use the tracker to update
the certification plan. FIG. 15 shows an exemplary Certification Resource
Registration page the user can use to register for or receive any one of resources
necessary for achieving certification goals. In other instances, the certification
goals can be met by various &stance-Iearning systems, a video course program, a
computer-based learning program, or other media format, all of which can be
ordered, on line using the present invention.
FIG. 16 shows an exemplary User Home page. This page provides various
links to the user that allow for accessing various resources. The page include a
"Plan Progress" section which presents user's progress summary of certification
goals. A "My Plan" link allows the user to access the Certification Planner page
described in connection with FIG. 14. Also, the user home page includes an alert
section that provides certification alerts to the user.
Another feature of the present invention includes an on-line grant module
that allows the user to search and apply for grants from his or her user. A "Grant
Search Link" allows the user to access an exemplary Grant Search page shown in
FIG. 17. As shown, this page allows the user to search for grants. The search
result presented to the user allows him or her to get a description of the grant as
well as information regarding requirements for applying for the discovered grant.
Corresponding "Apply" links allow the user to apply for a desired grant on line.
The User Home page shown in FIG. 16 also provides links to news and
events directed to certification requirements, for example, news regarding state
certification in a professional field. This page, which can be personalized, gives
the user information concerning their profession and certification needs. In
addition, the user can obtain degree program materials that are related to
certification process so that they can fulfill requirements necessary for their
personalized certification plan. Additionally, supplementary reading material
suggestions may be provided on this page.
Also the page may provide links to discussion forums with a certification
authority representative or any private or pubbc institution and agency that tracks
certification requirements. This page can also provide links for obtaining
certification forms and contact information, for example, the appropriate
certification authority department, board or committee.
While various embodiments of the present invention have been described
above, it should be understood that they have been presented by way of example
only, and not limitation. Thus, the breadth and scope of the present invention
should not be limited by any of the above-described exemplary embodiments, but
should instead be defined only in accordance with the following claims and their
1. A system accessible by at least one user who seeks a certification over a computer
network for planning and tracking certification, comprising:
. a user information entry module configured to present a first user interface to the at least
one user seeking certification, wherein the first user interface- is configured to create a user
account over a network (16) and is further configured to allow the at least one user to select a
desired certification authority and enter user information relating to the certification by the
desired certification authority;
a database (24) configured to store at least one user profile associated with the at least one
user seeking certification and at least one authority profile associated with the desired
certification authority, wherein the at least one user profile specifies the user selected desired
certification authority and at least one user skill contained in the user profile, and wherein the
at least one authority profile contains one or more certification requirements associated with
the desired certification authority specified in the user profile;
one or more workstations (12); said system being characterized by:
a planning module executed at the one or more workstations (12) and configured to
generate certification goals for fulfilling the one or more certification requirements in the at
least one authority profile based on the user entered information and the one or more
certification, requirements in the at least one authority profile, prioritize the generated
certification goals, and present a second user, interface including the prioritized certification
goals in order according to the prioritization to the at least one user seeking certification to
select one or more of the presented certification goals, and wherein the planning module is
further configured to respond to at least one user selection of the presented certification goals
to create a certification plan associated with the user account;
a certification resource generator that is configured to associate at least one of the
certification goals with at least one certification resource, wherein the at least one certification
resource comprises at least one of a course, program, session, and seminar; and
an on-line system accessible by the user and configured to register for the at least one
2. The system as claimed in claim 1, wherein the at least one certification resource
comprises at least one of an audio lecture, video lecture, a book, a test, and a form; and
an on-line system accessible by the user and configured to order the at least one
3. The system as claimed in claim 1, wherein the planning module is configured to prioritize
the generated certification goals based on whether a certification goal corresponds to a
temporary requirement or a permanent requirement.
4. The system as claimed in claim 1, wherein the planning module is configured to transmit
the certification plan, after being generated by the user to the desired certification authority
specified in the user profile, and wherein the planning module is configured to receive an
approval of the certification plan from the certification authority.
5. The system as claimed in claim 1, wherein the planning module is configured to prioritize
the generated certification goals based on whether a certification goal corresponds to a
temporary requirement or a permanent requirement.
6. The system as claimed in claim 4, comprising a tracking module executed at one or more
workstations and configured to update the certification plan in response to input regarding
achievement of the one or more user-selected certification goals associated with the user
7. The system as claimed in claim 6, wherein the tracking module is configured to transmit
an e-mail to the user in connection with a certification goal.
8. The system as claimed in claim 6, wherein the tracking module is configured to alert the
user regarding a certification goal deadline.
SYSTEM FOR PLANNING AND TRACKING CERTIFICATION
A system and method for planning and tracking
certification comprises generating one or more certification
goals by a planner (204) based on a user profile and an
authority profile associated with a certification authority.
The planner (204) is responsive to user (216) selection of
one or more of the generated certification goals for creating
a certification plan (210). A tracker (206) that updates the
certification plan (210) in response to input regarding
achievement of the one or more selected certification goals.
|Indian Patent Application Number||1676/KOLNP/2006|
|PG Journal Number||13/2013|
|Date of Filing||16-Jun-2006|
|Name of Patentee||LAUREATE EDUCATION, INC.|
|Applicant Address||1001 FLEET STREET, BALTIMORE, MD 20202|
|PCT International Classification Number||B62J 15/02|
|PCT International Application Number||PCT/US2003/036782|
|PCT International Filing date||2003-11-18|