Certification and Curriculum Overview

The Latitude LMS Certification and Curriculum features provide flexible, performance-driven competency management tools to portal administrators, enabling them to define and manage their Training Programs. These tools provide the ability to mix prerequisites, equivalencies, electives, and mandatory courses with performance data to create certifications and curricula that drive employee performance. From the simplest requirements to complex setups with certifications and curricula nested in hierarchies, the LMS has the ability to turn training plans into reality.

This document provides an overview of the key concepts and terminology used in managing Certifications and Curriculums.



A Program defines the time during which students can achieve, or complete, a Certification or Curriculum. Only Portal Administrators have the ability to set up Programs, which can consist of one or more Certifications and Curricula. The LMS can handle processing multiple active Programs at a time.

Example: A company can define a New Hire training program that is ongoing for employees hired in any year, and have a separate annual program for Sales Managers.

Position Groups

Position Groups are built from the individual Position codes that are assigned to every LMS user. Certifications and Curriculums are assigned to students through the Position Group to which they belong. Because each Position Code can belong to only one Position Group at a time, you need to understand the certification or curriculum requirements for each position before including it in a Position Group. If one position has different requirements from others in the group, it will not be possible to assign them to an additional group to meet the additional training needs. 

In general, creating fewer Position Groups allows for simpler Certification or Curriculum assignments and Position Group data maintenance. Using more Position Groups allows for greater flexibility in making assignments. For organizations that have different training requirements for every employee position, it is even possible to create a one-to-one relationship between each position and position group for maximum flexibility.


A certification is a designation a person earns to assure that he or she is qualified to perform a job or task. Depending on the nature of the certification requirements, students may only need to attain the certification once, or they may need to renew it on a regular basis. 

In the Latitude Learning LMS, a Certification is a rule- or compliance-based set of courses and related performance objectives that students must complete in order to demonstrate their professional competency. 

An LMS Certification is generally more prescribed than a Curriculum. This means the organization is more involved in setting goals than the student, although the student can often choose between multiple paths to achieve the same goal. Based on their organization’s requirements, Portal Administrators build rules to determine the successful completion of the certification. They can select from multiple rule types that key on the completion of required or elective coursework, individual performance targets, and departmental or location objectives. 


A Curriculum is a competency-based training program organized into Skill Profiles that define, as a matrix, one or more areas of expertise (Skill Areas) and the varying competency levels within those areas (Skill Levels). They are the key building blocks of any Curriculum. The following is an example of a very simple Skill Profile with multiple subordinate Skill Areas and Skill Levels, per area.

Skill Profile: Mechanic

  • Skill Area: Brakes 
    Skill Levels: Level 1, Level 2, Master
  • Skill Area: Powertrain
    Skill Levels: Level 1, Level 2, Master
  • Skill Area: Suspensions
    Skill Levels: Level 1, Level 2, Master

Note: You can use existing Skill Profiles in multiple certifications or curricula.

Curriculums are attached to Programs, Position Groups, and Skill Profiles. Their requirements also employ rules related to the completion of specified required courses. Elective rules and objectives that consider performance measures are not well-suited for Curriculums.

They are often less prescribed than Certifications because both students and their managers can decide which competencies to complete from among those displayed as student goals. A learner does not have options to choose from different paths and must complete all required coursework in their assigned competencies to satisfy their goals.

Key Differences Between Certification and Curriculum

Training Goals are prescribed to learners. The organization granting certification determines program requirements and achievement of completion. 
VS    Goal setting is more interactive between learners and their managers. Both can help determine which competencies are required for successful completion of the curriculum.
Programs can be designed to offer a learner multiple paths that reach the same Goal. (e.g. Creating a rule that requires completion of Course #1, then five of the remaining eight elective courses.) VS Once a learner's goals are set, the path to program completion does not present options. Students must complete all requirements for the selected competencies to achieve success.
Allows the use of performance measures in determining certification success (assuming all supporting data is available in the LMS).
VS Favors completion-based measures. Elective rules and objectives that consider performance are not well-suited for a Curriculum.
Example: An automobile mechanic for a dealership is required to be ASE-Certified in several areas of service. The training and testing requirements for ASE certifications are a national standard, not an option that varies from shop to shop. The student has no input in setting the goals required to obtain the Certification.
VS Example: A flooring company has specialty products that are infrequently ordered, but the company requires three sales staff at each location be able to handle potential requests. They set up Curriculum Programs to bring select employees to a level of competency, per location, in representing one or more of the specialty products. In this scenario, the Location Manager and his employees both determine which competencies are appropriate to assign individuals in order to meet the location's overall competency requirements.


Certification and Curriculum Management is a large tool set that controls some of the most intricate and complex functions of the LMS. Therefore, the initial setup process will take time to understand and develop. Once a program is launched to LMS users, it can also prove difficult to restructure and modify the components of the Certification or Curriculum, or to carve out a different training route altogether. 

Before attempting to establish a Training Program in the LMS, you should plan well in advance and consider the following items. It will help you make the first important determination - Certification or Curriculum - and then focus your efforts toward building one that meets the organization’s learning needs.

1.  From a business perspective, establishing the details of an organization’s training goals, implementation plan, and reporting process will help guide administrators in building the right program into the LMS. It should also reduce the implementation timeline and any chance for misunderstandings over how the final product should function.

  • We recommend preparing an official Training Plan document, approved by the business, that provides portal administrators clear, detailed guidelines for developing Certifications and/or Curriculums that fulfill organizational requirements.
  • It should document the skills and knowledge that need to be structured into a certification or curriculum. 
    ○  Which courses will provide that education and how do they need to be grouped? Are they all required or does the student have choices? 
    ○  Which LMS users are involved and how should their positions be grouped? 
    ○  How will you measure success? Is the measurement data available or will you need to work with Latitude to import it into the LMS?
    ○  What is the time frame for completion?
  • It should also include answers to important questions that determine whether you will use a certification or a curriculum, and how to design it. 
    ○  Are students/direct managers more involved in goal setting or choosing a learning path? If yes, this favors using a curriculum. If the business determines goals, use a certification.
     Are any of the rules “Elective”, giving the student options for choosing how to complete the goal? If yes, certifications are preferred because they will best display elective options to the student.
    ○  Are any of the objectives performance-based? If so, it favors the use of Certifications.

2.  Take time to fully understand the available Certification and Curriculum features.

  • Explore our training video and related support documentation for Certification Management and Curriculum Management.
  • Contact your LatitudeLearning account manager or the ClientCare Team to request a private, personalized support session with a Latitude Business Analyst (fee-based).

3.  Create the Courses, Positions, and Position Groups that will be part of the Certification or Curriculum. 

  • All of these key elements of a Training Program must exist before you start building rules for a Certification or Curriculum.
  • Courses do not need to be active or visible to users, nor do they require actual content to be loaded at the time of inclusion.


Training Goals Page

LMS Message Editor Screen Shot
click to enlarge

Certification Page

LMS Certification Screen Shot
click to enlarge

Curriculum Page

LMS Curriculum Screen Shot
click to enlarge

Goal Assignment Page

LMS Set Training Goals Page
click to enlarge