Online Learning Leaps Ahead

By G.C. Skipper | February 27, 2013
Online Learning Leaps Ahead

The Association of Equipment Management Professionals (AEMP) has spent the past several years building its online education portal,, and recently went global with its asset-management certification program. This most recent move, a year after launching, eliminates the need for candidates to sit for the Certified Equipment Manager (CEM) exam at AEMP conferences after taking the required courses either online or in person.

“The program is up and running,” says Stan Orr, CAE, AEMP’s president and chief staff officer. “Although candidates can take the tests now at hundreds of national and global locations, extraordinary measures have been established to preserve the integrity of the certification. You can’t just walk in and sit for the exam. Testing sites are secure and proctored; anyone taking the test is monitored by a qualified person during the entire exam.”

Jim Phillips, vice president and chief learning officer for AEMP, says security is maintained through a partnership with Pearson Vue, an affiliate of Measurement Research Associates.

“After registrating through me, the candidate is given a phone number to call and schedule a site where he can take the test,” Phillips says. “Pearson Vue has its own testing sites and also uses selected learning centers for test taking.”

The candidate goes to the testing site with a password, a client ID number, and two forms of photo ID. A thumb scan is done, and no candidate is allowed to take anything into or out of the testing room.

“You sign into the room with a computer,” Phillips says, “and a person is inside the room to monitor what is going on. You can’t leave, except for restroom breaks, and even then the clock keeps ticking. You are logged out and logged back in when you return.”

All Level 1 and Level 2 classes have been updated and now include all 17 of AEMP’s core asset-management competencies. In addition, the Equipment Manager Specialist (EMS) exam, which prepares candidates to take the CEM, is now on the system.

“Level 3 courses will be a little different,” says Phillips. “That level is now called Advanced Fleet Management. We are looking to develop one standard this year so a candidate can actually go to a virtual construction site where he is given a situation or a problem that fleet managers face as part of their daily responsibilities. For instance, the candidate has to make certain decisions, such as buying a compactor for a certain job. They may select a solution that takes them one way, or they can select a different solution that takes them another way.

“The point is, they can see the impact their decision has along the way,” Phillips says.

Level 4, which contains materials such as magazine articles and webinars for use in continuing education and re-certification, should be complete by the first of the year.

Carl Porter, corporate business manager, John Deere, heads up AEMP’s online education committee. The phase-in approach in developing AEMPU, he says, “is not a build-stop type of thing. Our first goal was to get Level 1 and 2 courses online, and that is done. Another step was to start recording, in a professional way, the presentations from our spring and fall meetings. That is now being done. Those presentations will be converted either into actual courses online or regular presentations that can be accessed online. Some possibly will be future webinars.”

As AEMPU evolves, other opportunities could open up, Porter says. “For example, if AEMP’s Green Fleet or the association’s technology committee want to put something specifically online, they would come to the online education committee and we would help them do that. We already have a website for information, but for online education they would come to us to create something for them.”

Porter said that ability also extends to individual companies that need a specific course tailored for their employees or have a better way to resolve issues that they would like to share with their peers in an online format.

AEMPU also assists organizations facing cuts in travel budgets. “The ability to invest in coming to a meeting, along with the airfare involved, hotel and meal costs, can be, in some instances, a hindrance in this ‘new normal,’” Orr says. “During our strategizing, we came to the conclusion that some managers wanted to get their certification but could not get to a conference. We now are giving them the ability to sample the program. They get exposed to the exam and the study courses, and if they like the education that is being offered and its quality, they can take the test at a nearby testing site.”

Global education portal

These updates have opened up international participation, Phillips says. In one case, the U.S. Air Force-Europe, last year’s Fleet Master, had nine candidates who completed the EMS training and would have qualified for CEM. Only one could travel to the States, attend an AEMP conference, and take the CEM exam.

“Now with online certification possible, more people working in other countries can earn a CEM by sitting for the exam at a Pearson Vue learning center at a location in their country,” Phillips says. “We have two Bechtel employees in Canada who have been waiting about two years to take the exam, but haven’t been able to get back to the U.S. Now they can take the exam while they are in Canada.”

View the courses available at AEMPU.