Proposal would enable adaptive-learning CPE self-study for CPAs

By Ken Tysiac

New standards proposed Monday for continuing education providers would permit CPAs to receive CPE credit for adaptive-learning programs in self-study courses.

The National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) and the AICPA proposed various changes to the Statement on Standards for Continuing Professional Education Programs, which last were revised in 2016.

One of the most significant proposed revisions would update the self-study standards to permit adaptive-learning programs. The proposed revisions would specify a methodology to use in determining the amount of CPE credit to be awarded for an adaptive-learning program.

In an adaptive-learning program, customized content is delivered to learners based on their individual needs, which are assessed during the program. Because the learning is customized and different for each learner, determining the amount of CPE credit to award can be a challenge.

The proposal would require adaptive-learning programs to be pilot-tested as part of the CPE credit calculation, and the number of pilot testers would be expanded from the number required for a traditional self-study program. The proposal specifically requests feedback on the requirement to base the CPE credit calculation on pilot testing and seeks additional ideas on other credit determination methodologies that should be accepted.

Other significant proposed revisions include:

  • Permitting the use of review questions or other content reinforcement tools in a nano learning program.
  • Additional clarifications designed to assist in the understanding of awarding CPE credit in different instructional delivery methods.
  • The addition of a table to assist sponsors in understanding the minimum number of monitoring mechanisms required in a group internet-based program in which fractional CPE credit is awarded.
  • A clarification on the solicitation of evaluations for larger CPE programs or conferences.

NASBA and the AICPA are seeking public comment on the proposal. Comments can be emailed to Jessica Luttrull, CPA, at through Aug. 31.

Luttrull, who serves as NASBA’s associate director of the national registry, said in a news release that the proposed changes will help keep CPE relevant and meaningful for CPAs.

“We are excited to include adaptive learning within the self-study standards, as science and research show its endless benefits,” Luttrull said. “Adaptive learning changes the landscape of learning from a one-size-fits-all atmosphere to a personalized approach, which orchestrates interaction with the learner to deliver customized learning.”

Amy Eubanks, CPA, vice president of Professional Development for the AICPA, said in a news release that allowing adaptive learning is an important and necessary step for the accounting profession.

“It is essential to adapt and progress our learning options to meet the needs of an evolving profession,” Eubanks said. “This revision is consistent with our Future of Learning research, which found a need to make learning more personal and engage professionals through meaningful, purposeful learning experiences.”

Ken Tysiac ( is the JofA’s editorial director.

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