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About the 20/20 MDS® learning programs available

FAQ From Potential 20/20 MDS® Program Participants

Click each frequently asked question below to address concerns shared by potential 20/20 MDS® program participants.

Who is eligible to undertake these courses?
What is the 20/20 MDS® Leadership and Management program?
Who is eligible to undertake these courses?
What is the time commitment if I undertake one of these programs?
Do I have to do all of the modules in a particular level of the program?
Does successful completion of a course lead to formally recognized qualifications?
Who are WCOD and ILM?
What is the application process for these programs?
What is the Leadership and Management Aptitude Test or LMAT™?
What happens if I fail the LMAT™?
What does the learning process look like when I get on the program?
Is everything assessed when participating in these programs?
“Competency” seems to be mentioned a lot-why is this and how does this related to internal skill or competency needs that may exist?
Who is involved in delivering or teaching this program?
Once enrolled, what happens if I miss modules because of illness or I fall behind?
How do the on-line modules work?
Can I look at individual modules on the program or look at the on-line system before I enroll on the course?
If I’m already well qualified, or have a lot of leadership and management knowledge and experience, can I start at a higher level in the program (level B, C and D)?
Why are the “Action-learning projects” so important in this program?
Who is available to coach or mentor me on this open learning process?
Will my participation in these courses enhance my career prospects?



What is the 20/20 MDS®® Leadership and Management program?
The 20/20 MDS® Leadership and Management program is a fully integrated, competency-based series of classroom and open learning modules that when successfully completed leads to externally recognized qualifications. This program is offered in 4 parts. At level A as a Certificate in Team Leadership, at Level B as a Certificate in Management, Level C as a Diploma in Management and Leadership and level D as a Post Graduate Diploma in Management.

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Who is eligible to undertake these courses?
Any employee who is in any kind of formal or informal role who feels that a deeper and more  thorough leadership learning program will give him or her a greater appreciation of his or her role.

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What is the 20/20 MDS®® Leadership and Management program?

The 20/20 MDS® Leadership and Management program is a fully integrated, competency-based series of classroom and open learning modules that when successfully completed leads to externally recognized qualifications. This program is offered in 4 parts. At level A as a Certificate in Team Leadership, at Level B as a Certificate in Management, Level C as a Diploma in Management and Leadership and level D as a Post Graduate Diploma in Management.

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Who is eligible to undertake these courses?

Any employee who is in any kind of formal or informal role who feels that a deeper and more  thorough leadership learning program will give him or her a greater appreciation of his or her role.

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What is the time commitment if I undertake one of these programs?
These Leadership and Management programs are not just a series of short courses. Each module involves anywhere from 15 to 30 hours of time each month. Although up to 20% of this can often be done in company time (in kick off workshop attendance in particular), at least 80% has to be completed in personal time. Hence, participation represents a serious commitment for every individual. At Level A for example (where most people will start) there are ten modules to complete. Consequently, individuals should plan a minimum of 150 hours of total time commitment. At Level B and C there are twelve modules to complete and the commitment of time is even greater (around 175 and 275 hours respectively). The program User Guide gives a lot more detail on the sort of time commitment that is involved.

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Do I have to do all of the modules in a particular level of the program?

No. Each Level of the 20/20 MDS® program (A, B, C or D) has a series of core and elective modules. All core modules must be completed. However, individuals always have at least 5 electives from which they only have to choose 2.

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Does successful completion of a course lead to formally recognized qualifications?
Yes. Each Level of the 20/20 MDS® program is linked to an internationally recognized qualification, based on the United Kingdom Vocationally Related Qualification (VRQ) framework, which is now adopted by most UK based higher academic institutions. The core curriculum to be followed and the Qualification system offered is managed by the Worldwide Center for Organizational Development (WCOD) and accredited by the Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM).

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Who are WCOD and ILM?
WCOD is a U.S. based organizational development and training company that has worked closely with many large-scale client organizations for over 15 years since its establishment. WCOD also has offices in the UK and in Australia. WCOD has written all of the module material (in paper and on-line) that is used at each level of the program and also always works closely with the client organization to customize parts of it so as to be as relevant to the particular business as possible.

ILM are the largest Leadership and Management certification body in the U.K. (including Universities). ILM is the Executive Management arm of the City and Guilds Group, based in London. City and Guilds have been providing accredited professional and management training for over 100 years.

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What is the application process for these programs?
Essentially there are usually 3 steps to apply for these programs if you are eligible. Firstly, participants need to read the program User Guide and Competency Target Behavior Booklets (both of which are available on-line). If an individual feels that he or she can make the commitment required, he or she then simply fills in the standard or sometimes customized program application form. This is typically reviewed with a person’s line manager and the Learning and Development or Training Manager for your organization. You are then invited to undertake the Leadership and Management Aptitude Test or LMAT™ (see next question). If you attain the appropriate standard you may then be enrolled on the next available program.

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What is the Leadership and Management Aptitude Test or LMAT™?
Like any pre-qualification test such as an SAT (for school leavers) or GMAT (for MBA programs) the LMAT is a cognitive ability assessment of general suitability for participation in these programs, and aims to give those interested in course participation a broad indication of potential success in the long term. The test has 5 sections: Verbal reasoning, Numeric reasoning, Logical reasoning, Visual reasoning and finally Scenario based reasoning. Scores are attained in all 5 sections of the test as well as an overall score. This test is supervised when it is undertaken and it is done in fixed time limits.

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What happens if I fail the LMAT™?
For those whose scores are below an acceptable standard, there are two possibilities. The first is to undertake specific revision work (which may be in particular sections of the test where scores were weak) and then take the test again at a later stage. At this point, individuals can re-take the LMAT™ at any time after 6 months from the last test. For those that do not want to re-take the test, participation will not be possible. However, this will have no impact on continuing to operate in his or her current position, or have any bearing on an individual’s potential for promotion in the future (which involves a range of assessment methods). In addition, individuals who fall short of an acceptable standard may not be precluded from undertaking individual modules on the 20/20 MDS®® program when they are nominated to do so by their organizational line manager.

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What does the learning process look like when I get on the program?
These Leadership and Management modules are delivered in what is called a “blended” manner. This means that we use multiple methodologies to help individuals to learn. Each learning group therefore starts off the process by attending a “kick-off” workshop on each module (and participates in group exercises and discussions as required). At the end of these workshops, individuals are given a self-paced module workbook and access to the corresponding on-line module. Participants work through this module on their own (mainly in their own time) completing reflection exercises and activities as they go. When they have finished (approximately taking one month for each module) they identify and complete a module relevant action-learning project (which is the most substantial part of the program assessment system). This is read by the relevant line manager and may be formally assessed by WCOD and/or ILM on a sample basis.

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Is everything assessed when participating in these programs?
No but assessment is extremely important as we need to ensure that in this learning program we need to ensure that we are properly measuring progress (for each individual as a participant learner, the client organization as the sponsoring entity, and for the qualification award standards expected by ILM). We therefore use a range of different assessment methods such as competency or behavioral profiles, learning activity log-book reviews, 180-degree and 360-degree competency appraisal, knowledge tests and project work assessment.

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“Competency” seems to be mentioned a lot-why is this and how does this related to internal skill or competency needs that may exist?
The whole 20/20 MDS® series is underpinned by twenty core competencies – Twelve of these are management and eight are leadership related. Each individual module aims to help individuals to develop several competencies.  All twenty of these competencies are clearly defined and with target behaviors described at each level of the program (A, B, C and D). Individuals are given an opportunity to review their relative performance in all twenty competencies when they commence the program.   The competency framework we draws upon has been develop on an international basis and therefore links fully with many other leadership based organizational competency frameworks. It is also easy to adapt and link with internal competency frameworks that may be in place.

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Who is involved in delivering or teaching this program?
At least initially, when a client adopts one of the 20/20 MDS® learning programs at any or all four levels, all trainers will come from WCOD (so as to ensure that standards are as they should be at the outset). In addition, our program designers/writers may also be involved in customization work, because they also have extensive experience in training and facilitation, especially in leadership and management skills areas. However, over time we always aim to train internal client staff in the Learning and Development or Training team and elsewhere in the business to deliver all of the relevant modules (sometimes individually and sometimes in combination with external trainers).

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Once enrolled, what happens if I miss modules because of illness or I fall behind?
Although module workshops occur every month, and the idea is that self-paced work is completed in the 4 weeks or so between module workshops, there are no time limits for completion, as the whole program is assessment based and not time based. Individuals can therefore catch up on any workshop missed through reading and going on to review the on-line module material. Alternatively, they can wait until a particular workshop occurs again. In addition, because individuals have to choose only 2 from 5 electives in a given period (say 15 months to complete a course on average at level A) there will be 3 months in which no workshop or self-paced module work occurs at all. This allows individuals to catch up on any previously incomplete work or to review any modules that may have been missed due to illness or other reasons.

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How do the on-line modules work?
Every module has a self-paced workbook that is available as a hard copy booklet within which to keep notes or to read when individuals cannot access the on-line system. However, the on-line system has full audio streaming and is usually more interesting from a visual learning standpoint. The on-line system is therefore intended to be the primary content learning methodology for this part of the program (although the Action Learning project is the most significant element as we said earlier). In addition, all module activities need to be completed on-line (as this allows learning coaches and verifiers to review and assess input wherever necessary). On-line modules are usually accessed from internet enabled client computers when individuals have personal time to spare but can also be accessed from  home or Internet cafés where people have an opportunity to do so.

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Can I look at individual modules on the program or look at the on-line system before I enroll on the course?
Yes.  All module material, including on-line is available and much of the material (in Adobe PDF files) is available on the Internet. In addition, in many cases, subject to management approval, individuals can also nominate themselves to undertake any individual module and participate for the 4-6 weeks of workshop and self-paced learning.

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If I’m already well qualified, or have a lot of leadership and management knowledge and experience, can I start at a higher level in the program (level B, C and D)?
The 20/20 MDS® series has a full recognition of prior learning (or RPL) system that will allow some individuals to undertake courses at a higher level than the usual entry point at Level A. However, the RPL is not based on qualifications or years of experience. Instead, individuals are expected to be able to demonstrate particular leadership and management knowledge and experience and successfully pass course level assessments that they wish to bi-pass.

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Why are the “Action-learning projects” so important in this program?
This whole leadership and management program is not an attempt to offer merely theoretical knowledge to individuals. Our primary aim is help individuals to develop their leadership and management competencies (so as to be able to think as creatively as possible) and to apply particular learning (when it is relevant) to real life work challenges, problems and situations. This is done through a very non-traditional approach called “Action Learning” developed by Reg Revans. In this approach it is much more important for individuals to work collaboratively and develop the ability to ask insightful questions than it is for them to simply discover the so-called “right answers” of the past. By designing in a series of “mini-projects” (undertaken after each module) and a longer end-of-level project, we ensure that all 20/20 MDS® programs are “action-focused” and hopefully benefit both the learner and the client organization. This is also why every project completion template to be used ends with an approximate cost-benefit analysis box for learners to estimate the value of their knowledge and the potential changes for the better that it can bring about in real terms.

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Who is available to coach or mentor me on this open learning process?
The answer to this question falls into 2 categories. Internal support is usually provided by the internal learning and development or training team (who typically go through their own train-the-trainer program concurrently to support the 20/20 MDS® system). In addition, line managers are often actively involved in the process and are committed to help staff and organization as a whole to getting the most from the whole experience. External support is provided by both WCOD (through its training deliverers and verification of standards in terms of project work) and ILM (in relation to certification and final assessments). Details on how to contact both of these organizations should you need to do so can be found in the Candidate Guide Booklet, available on the Internet.

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Will my participation in these courses enhance my career prospects?
Participation in these courses will clearly not typically lead to automatic promotions, grade changes or pay increases. However, the leadership and management modules within the 20/20 MDS® deliberately aim to increase individual competencies. Learners who successfully complete these programs will therefore often greatly assist their future applications for higher level positions or increase their overall eligibility when higher level job roles become available (in their present of future organizations that they may subsequently join).

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