Evaluations and certification testing at Liebert Corporation
The Liebert Corporation, based in Columbus, Ohio, provides power and environmental control systems that protect sensitive electronics from power surges and keep them cool. Because the company’s products protect critical and expensive equipment, it’s essential that its 360 UPS field technicians know exactly how to service those products.
Testing is an integral part of all training. Each class has five learning objectives, and participants must take a quiz during training and a final exam afterward. Mark Cousino, the technical training manager for Liebert, says that the whole training environment is based on testing. He formerly used pencil-and-paper exams to test trainees’ knowledge, but two years ago he switched to Questionmark.
Now testing is getting more ambitious at Liebert. To make sure the technicians have all the knowledge they need, Liebert requires that they be certified in the products they service, which means an extensive program of training in that product and a certification exam at the end.
Product certifications require technicians to pass a 60- to 90-item exam at the end of the program. If the technician passes, he or she will be certified to work on that product as required for the technician’s job progression. Cousino says that he uses the Questionmark authoring tool to easily manage an item bank of about 1,300 certification questions, with thousands more questions to be added as the company grows its certification program.
“The program has evolved to be much larger than originally anticipated, but Questionmark has scaled up nicely to meet our needs,” Cousino says.
Cousino uses Questionmark for another essential function: evaluation. He conducts Level 1 evaluations by surveying participants in his training classes to find out how they felt about the class. He also does Level 2 evaluation by way of final exams, and eventually he’d like to conduct both pre- and post-testing.
The feature of Questionmark's authoring manager that Cousino uses the most is the metatagging feature. Using metatags, Cousino can designate different questions in his item bank as easy, medium, or hard, or as a quiz, final exam, or certification item. By tagging items in this way, he doesn’t have to search for specific items in order to create new tests or update old ones. He can also designate items that are not to be used as retired, which prevents them from being used again without having to delete them.
For his review process, in which the questions are reviewed by Cousino and subject matter experts, Cousino can designate items as being in review or approved. He appreciates the way meta tagging allows him to designate whole batches of items as approved, rather than having to approve each one individually.
Liebert uses Questionmark Hosting Services to accommodate the fact that many people are taking the same test at the same time. Questionmark hosting gives Cousino a test server and a production server so that questions can be tested and taken through a review process before they go live.
The hosting service also lets Cousino have the testing function he needs. Cousino started out running the Questionmark server in house, but he later switched to Questionmark’s hosting service. “This affects some of our employees’ promotions and progress in the company, so we had to have this system,” Cousino says. By using a hosted solution, Cousino gets the support he needs from Questionmark’s technical support team instead of drawing on company resources.
Without Questionmark, Cousino says, there’s no way he could manage the kind of testing that is essential to Liebert’s service success. “Questionmark is the cornerstone of how we validate our training now,” Cousino says.