CompTIA releases CertMaster training tool worldwide

There are lots of ways to study and learn for your next certification exam: books, workshops, forum discussions, virtual labs, and more. The hottest emerging trend in certification training, however, is web-based study that combines adaptive learning technology with more traditional question-and-answer scenarios.

CompTIA, the Illinois-based IT industry organization that's one of the top certification providers in the world, hopped on the leading edge of this new wave with the release of its CertMaster training tool on June 1. (Also in the game: Exam provider Certiport, which released the similar MeasureUp service in March.) The availability of CertMaster was limited over the first three weeks of June, but apparently it's time for the training wheels to come off. On Monday, CompTIA announced that CertMaster is now available worldwide.

CompTIA executive president Terry Erdle said in a press release announcing the rollout that CertMaster improves information mastery, retention and recall. "Anyone looking to launch or advance a career in information technology can benefit from CompTIA CertMaster," Erdle said.

CertMaster was engineered to both increase retention and help students gain confidence in their abilities. As users answer questions, CertMaster keeps track of progress and creates an individualized learning experience. Areas of struggle are marked for review, and subject mastery is rewarded by positive feedback. Convenience is another key feature: Users can log in at any hour of the day or night, from anywhere that a web connection is available, and immediately resume study wherever they last left off.

Also quoted in the rollout release, vice president of CompTIA Learning Thomas Reilly said that CertMaster encourages users' curiosity, as well as building on their achievements. "When you're engaged and getting positive feedback, dopamine starts flowing, creating a positive feedback loop," Reilly said. "This immediate, high-level feedback encourages you to learn from your mistakes and, ideally, keep playing and learning."

Early feedback on CertMaster has reportedly been overwhelmingly positive. According to CompTIA's internal tracking 96 percent of users to date have rated CertMaster as being either excellent or good. Beta users of CertMaster demonstrated 80 percent knowledge retention after one year.

CertMaster is currently available for use in preparing to take CompTIA's A+, Network +, Security+ and Strata IT Fundamentals certification exams, with additional exams slated to enter the loop in coming months. And there's good news for certification candidates who aren't quite sold on the merits of the new service. You can take a test drive: CompTIA is currently offering a free 30-day trial of CertMaster.

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GoCertify's mission is to help both students and working professionals get IT certifications. GoCertify was founded in 1998 by Anne Martinez.