I wrote the following reflection piece more than 2 years ago, when I was about to pass the halfway mark of attaining ACTA qualification.
In retrospect, the certification might not be all that difficult to work for, but it was still a feat for someone like me trying to juggle demands of work and study.
When I was taking ACTA back in 2014, the trial for ACTA 5 was already in place. Now, ACTA has moved on to version 5, officially. My queries were somewhat answered. The modules in the new modules were re-arranged in the way that was recommended back in the old version, so it becomes more intuitive for learning.
IAL has made it mandatory for learners to pick up ACTA in a cohort, so learners do not need to be like me, having to try to register for the various modules such that they run continuously.
With the passing of this round of test, I would have been more than halfway complete for my journey to be a nationally certified trainer. In fact, I would have been more than halfway through, for I had already commenced the 4th module thus far.
ACTA, or Advanced Certificate in Training and Assessment, is a qualification by Workforce Development Agency (WDA), which in turn, gives certified trainers the mandate to train others in areas covered by the Workforce Skills Qualifications (WSQ) frameworks. Being ACTA trained does not guarantee Adam Khoo stardom, but it does mean that an ACTA trainer is recognized by Singapore to have a standard quality in training and facilitation.
The 1st questions that people would ask, just like I did when I first registered with Institute of Adult Learning (IAL) was whether we should follow the recommended pathway. For the uninitiated, this was indeed puzzling. What was supposed to be a chronological order of modules, from CU1 to CU6, was not the recommended learning pathway by IAL. Instead, we were advised to take the modules in this sequence:
CU2 -> CU4A/B -> CU1 -> CU3A/B -> CU5 -> CU6; OR
CU2 -> CU1 -> CU3A/B -> CU4A/B -> CU5 -> CU6
depending on whether you have prior experience in training.
As much as many of the people I met have claimed that there is no difference if one takes the modules in a different sequence, because the availability to attend the training is more important that the sequence, I would beg to differ (even though I, had shuffled 2 modules also out of convenience).
When left alone, I would have not realized the effect on me. However, when my classmates started to ask me questions that would have been self-explanatory if they had attended a module recommended to be taken prior to the current one we were taking, I grew to realize that the sequence do make the learning curve of subsequent modules less steep. Terms that came naturally to my mind were foreign to my uninitiated classmates, and they got all confused when the jargon started to unload from the trainers.
So yes, it would be good for one to follow the recommended sequence, even to the extent of making time to attend the modules accordingly. The trade-off would mean a less riskier chance of having to re-take the assessment.
The other question is born out of the skepticism of a national standard, that whether something that is related to the government is at all relevant or worth pursuing.
Back when Singapore decided to provide public housing to Singaporeans, to provide public health service, Singapore had proven that a government could be exemplary. I remembered being told, in the mid-90s that a HDB reception is more posh than any other in the world, on top of the efficient service. My subsequent trips to less than developed countries like Cambodia, Nepal and Thailand, to rather developed countries like Hong Kong and South Korea further reinforced the perception.
The module that I had just passed my assessment for, provided an insight on how WSQ is not just a populist-policy as would be suggested by conspiracy theorists. Each framework that WDA initiates to develop for a particular trade is endorsed by an Industry Skills and Training Council (ISTC), which is formed by leaders of that trade. This lends relevance to the framework, which in turn, works to provide a standard for an industry.