Adaptive learning self-study enabled in new CPE provider rules

By Ken Tysiac

Rules for continuing professional education providers for CPAs have been changed to accommodate adaptive learning self-study programs and address other issues.

The National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) and the AICPA announced that they have approved revisions to the Statement on Standards for Continuing Professional Education (CPE) Programs and the NASBA Fields of Study document.

The CPE standards provide the framework for the development, presentation, measurement, and reporting of CPE programs. The standards also reference the NASBA Fields of Study document.

One change will allow for adaptive learning self-study programs within the self-study standards, with references to the two methodologies to be used in determining the CPE credit for an adaptive learning program.

The standards now permit the use of review questions or other content reinforcement tools in a nano-learning program. NASBA and the AICPA also approved additional clarifications related to awarding CPE credit in the different instructional delivery methods.

Definitions and examples also are included to assist in application. The 2019 standards take effect Dec. 31, 2019.

“We are excited to include adaptive learning within the self-study standards,” Jessica Luttrull, associate director of the National Registry for NASBA, said in a news release. “Adaptive learning allows for a more personalized approach by delivering content customized to the learner. Boards of accountancy, CPAs, and CPE providers have recognized the need for CPE to continue to evolve, and we believe that the changes included in the 2019 standards will help keep CPE relevant and meaningful to CPAs.”

The changes to the Fields of Study document focus on providing descriptions that are more current and relevant than the previous version.

“As the profession continues to evolve rapidly, maintaining as well as upskilling and reskilling the profession’s competencies is increasingly important,” said Amy Eubanks, AICPA vice president–Professional Development. “One way the profession continues to meet this challenge is by making sure our CPE standards evolve and are meeting the personalized learning needs of CPAs.”

The standards and Fields of Study documents can be downloaded at the AICPA website.

Ken Tysiac ( is the JofA’s editorial director.

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