Prosoft Releases E-Commerce Exam for CIW

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Prosoft Learning Corp., which operates the Certified Internet Web Professional certification program, announced it would release a new test for its Master CIW Designer credentialing track. Version 5 of the E-Commerce Designer exam is slated for release this Thursday, but might come out even sooner than that, said Dr. James Stanger, vice president of certification and product development at Prosoft Learning.


“We’re excited about it,” he said. “It’s really an overhaul. We changed the objectives, but it’s hard to say we changed them entirely. The last time those objectives had been worked on in any significant way was in 2002, which is quite a long time.”


The revamp of the exam includes a reorganization of content and the addition of information about relatively new concepts within the e-commerce field, which Stanger suggested might warrant its own certification within the CIW program sometime in the future. “We went through and divided the exam into three different sections. We did a JTA (job-task analysis) where we added things like e-learning and SCORM (Sharable Content Object Reference Model), ensuring product mix, Web site optimization—there’s lots of stuff there to talk about.”

Online learning in particular needed to be addressed in a new way, Stanger said. “When e-learning was first brought out, I think it was sold wrong. It was introduced in an incorrect way, like it was going to replace everything. Well, no: It’s a supplement—and it’s a very good and effective supplement—to other forms of learning.”


Another added element is how and when Web designers should consider including blogging functionality on their sites. “We don’t just say what blogging is. We come up with a scenario and say, ‘Here are some of the solutions. What’s the best and what’s the worst?’” Stanger said. “Maybe blogging is good and maybe it’s bad. Just because it’s a hip term doesn’t mean it’s always going to fit. We learned that the hard way in the dot-bomb days.”


Other information was updated or discarded as well, including EDI (Electronic Data Interchange), payment gateways, search engines and banner ads. “We certainly de-emphasized certain things,” Stanger said. “People still use them, and there’s a smart way to use them, but we’re focusing more toward partner-based, blog-based—the newer stuff.”

The retirement date for previous versions of both the Site Designer and E-Commerce Designer exams is June 30, so individuals preparing for those exams should pick up the pace of their study efforts. For now, CIW certifications are good for life, but Stanger indicated that Prosoft was reviewing that policy.


Additionally, Stanger briefly discussed Prosoft’s new self-study kits. The latest offering from that line is for CIW’s v5 Foundations exam. “We found through our survey that a large amount of people were self studying entirely,” he explained. “We have a very good, abbreviated path for these people. It’s very price-sensitive, and it also allows people to contextualize their learning. They can learn this material when they want.”


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