Proposed CPE standards update would permit new modes of learning

By Ken Tysiac

Continuing professional education credit for nano-learning and blended learning, two emerging methods for educating CPAs, would be enabled under standards revisions proposed Tuesday.

The AICPA and the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) jointly proposed the changes to the Statement on Standards for Continuing Professional Education (CPE) Programs, which was last revised in 2012.

Enabling nano-learning and blended learning would align the standards with recommendations of the AICPA Future of Learning Task Force, which has advocated evolving CPE to reflect the realities of shifting workforce dynamics.

“The proposed revisions to the CPE standards will continue to expand and enhance the opportunities available to CPAs and underscore the profession’s commitment to lifelong learning,” Clar Rosso, AICPA vice president–Member Learning & Competency, said in a news release.

Nano-learning refers to information delivered in “bite-sized” 10-minute increments, often covering task-specific topics. An example would be short videos that CPAs can access to help master certain tasks as they encounter them in their work.

Blended learning combines multiple delivery methods, such as live instruction and on-demand self-study.

The proposed standards revisions would allow CPE credit to be given for both nano-learning and blended learning, helping learning for CPAs to keep pace with changes in technology and a workforce environment that requires increasingly specialized, personalized learning.

“The currently available delivery methods have remained, but the new nano-learning and blended-learning delivery methods reflect the need for learning that is more personalized and on-demand,” Maria-Lisa Caldwell, Esq., NASBA’s chief legal officer and director of compliance services, said in a news release. “More and more students and professionals are learning this way and expect continuing professional education to keep pace.”

The exposure draft can be downloaded at the AICPA’s website or NASBA’s website. Comments on the exposure draft are sought by Oct. 1.

Following the comment period, the Joint AICPA/NASBA CPE Standards Committee will review feedback and recommend any changes to the AICPA and NASBA boards for final approval in a vote that could take place in November, with the revisions taking effect Jan. 1, 2016. 

Ken Tysiac (ktysiac@aicpa.org) is a JofA editorial director.

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