4QP Emergent Learning Certification Program®


Launched in 2013, the 4QP Emergent Learning Certification Program® is designed for those who want to build mastery in the use of Emergent Learning to accelerate results—either with client organizations or internal teams. Cohorts in this year-long, highly participatory program typically include a group of mid-career independent consultants and internal, organization-based practitioners from a variety of sectors. Benefits include:


  • Deep understanding of Emergent Learning by comparing experiences with a group of experienced practitioners
  • Exploration of advanced questions about how to design a learning practice that is viable in a variety of settings over time
  • One-on-one coaching from Emergent Learning developers and/or peers
  • Eligibility for certification in Emergent Learning and an ongoing Community of Practice of Program graduates


Participants may choose to complete the program with or without certification. Amounts listed are U.S. Dollars. Tuition for 2018 is:

  1. Non-certification. Total cost: $1,925 for independent consultants; $3,300 for nonprofit organizations with operating budgets under $2.5 million*; $4,950 for organizational staff.  This includes:
  • Overview and practice of the tools of Emergent Learning: a two-and-a-half-day launch session typically in late January/early February. (The 2018 launch will be February 7-9.)
  • From Transaction to Transformation – Building a Learning Practice Over time: a two-day mid-term session typically in July
  • A two-day closing session in late January/early February of the following year
  • Ten 90-minute conference call sessions monthly between sessions
  • Optional self-organized peer coaching and topical participant calls
  • 150-page 4QP Guide to Emergent Learning


2.  Certification. Total cost: $3,850 for independent consultants; $5,225 for nonprofit organizations with operating

budgets under $2.5 million*; $ 7,425 for organizational staff. This includes all of the above, plus:

  • Personalized feedback from a 4QP Faculty Member on homework and practice required for certification
  • Occasional small-group conference call sessions with others pursuing certification
  • Up to twelve hours of personalized, one-on-one coaching by a 4QP Faculty Member in support of achieving certification
  • Documentation of certification achieved


Certification seekers are expected to participate in all sessions, work with at least one client (or internal team for organizational practitioners) to apply Emergent Learning principles and practices throughout the year and complete periodic assignments to assess progress.


Tuition for either track is due by November 15, 2017. Tuition includes attendance at each of the three in-person sessions, but excludes lodging**, meals, or transportation costs associated with attending. Tuition refunds are available until December 20, 2017 (less a $100 processing fee).




  1. Because of the small size of each year’s group, confirm your interest as soon as possible by contacting 4QP project coordinator, Deanna Sullivan (deanna@4qpartners.com).
  2. She will send you a link to registration, payment and lodging information for the first session. Payment is due by November 15.
  3. Requests for registration after November 15th will be placed on a waiting list for the current year. We will contact you if space becomes available.



The 4QP EL Certification Program  was designed and is delivered by the founding partners of Fourth Quadrant Partners, LLC:

  • Marilyn Darling, Founding Partner
  • Heidi Sparkes Guber, Founding Partner
  • Jillaine S. Smith, Founding Partner
  • Ray Gordezky, Senior Associate


Meet our Emergent Learning Practitioners


Please contact info@4qpartners.com if you have any questions about the program.


What Participants are Saying about the Value of Emergent Learning Certification Program


Multi-sector partnerships present a particular challenge to learning, planning and evaluation. The Emergent Learning methodology provides a clear-cut way to approach those challenges while working with colleagues who are dealing with those same issues. The specific techniques-- including the Before Action Review, After Action Review and the Emergent Learning Table-- helped me introduce rapid cycle prototyping into my practice with great confidence and efficacy.  Often the knowledge management aspects of that work can be very cumbersome, and these techniques demystify that and make it accessible.  The learning community -- one of the most powerful professional experiences I’ve had -- provides the underlying theory, the coaching to be able to facilitate, and the support to adapt it to your setting. This is easily a $10,000 or so value in terms of caliber of instruction and range of supports.

-- Marian Urquilla, Strategic Consultant, 2013 EL Cohort


I have found the work to be deeply additive to my leadership and management skills and to my ability to help others enhance their effectiveness in a systematic way. As I reflect on great leaders dealing with global challenges emerging from complex and shifting landscapes, I now see that they use emergent strategy techniques without a formal framework for understanding what it is that they are doing or where the leverage is in their actions. Emergent Learning Tables and our emergent strategy discussions have created an explicit skill set to do this in repeatable and scalable ways. The design of the course is not overtaxing. By joining a community of practice it enables a person to practice and learn from the tasks in their calendar. In fact, to learn you must apply the new tools and skills every day in your real work. The curriculum and community of practice by design has helped me achieve better outcomes in my daily work.

-- Linda Riefler, Consultant, 2013 EL Cohort


Having previously experienced Before and After Action Reviews, this Emergent Learning certification program not only deepened my learning, but introduced a bigger picture framework for harnessing the learning in a more meaningful way. The facilitators are committed to the learning of the participants and their investment of time both with the class and with individuals reflects that commitment.

-- Cynthia Way, MCC Executive Coach and Consultant, 2014 EL Cohort


While I always find something of value to take away from a conference or learning opportunity, at this point in my career, my expectation is for a small "bump" upward in my capabilities, at best. The EL certification program was a huge leap. The approach and tools have transformed my practice and are integral to how I guide my clients' toward success, as they define it.

--Sharon Flanagan-Hyde, Consultant, 2014 EL Cohort


When you get to a certain point in your career, it is hard to find robust professional development opportunities. The EL Certification Program was definitely robust - so much opportunity to interact with peers and mentors, ask questions, dig deeply. The program provided an effective spark for my professional growth.

--Anne Gienapp, Consultant, 2014 EL Cohort




* Please email a copy of the organization’s most recent 990 to deanna@4qpartners.com at registration.

** Session #1 will be held at Asilomar Conference Grounds in Pacific Grove, CA. This venue is expected to cost approximately $370/per person, per night, which includes lodging, three meals per day, snacks and service charges.

Please join us in congratulating our certified Emergent Learning practitioners!


Visit our Graduates page for a list of our current cohort and alumni.


© 2016 Fourth Quadrant Partners, LLC