In addition to the informative and entertaining keynote addresses from Elliott Masie and Tim Moore, the agenda for the National Registry Summit consisted of several presentations delivered by experts in the field of learning and course design.
Ted Lodden, CPA, was on-hand to give updates from NASBA’s CPE committee. He spoke about the CPE Standards working group, and encouraged CPE sponsors to submit information for consideration to be added to the Best Practices section of the Learning Market website, which is intended to be a working site for sharing best practices and ideas among CPE program sponsors.
Lodden was joined by Dr. James Greig, Education Program Administrator at the Defense Contract Audit Institute, Terry Heiney, President of Learning.net, and Valerie Wendt, Product Manager at Bisk Education. The trio discussed the background behind the word count formula alternative released with the revised Statement on Standards for CPE Programs (Standards).
After testing the word count formula on 100 courses with varying degrees of difficulty from five different providers, Greig said all indications are that the word count formula provided reasonable results and a viable alternative to pilot testing.
Next on the roster, Miki Klein, a National Registry Instructional Design Administrator for NASBA, discussed and answered questions about the QAS Self Study designation and transition process. The revised Standards raised the requirements for all Self Study providers and eliminated the differences between the QAS and Registry Self Study requirements. As part of the QAS Self Study transition process, Klein said NASBA is reviewing programs to ensure compliance with the revised Standards. Programs will be reviewed for appropriate learning objectives and the correlation of the learning objectives to learning activities. Self Study programs already in existence as of December 31, 2011 have until March 1, 2014 to be in compliance with the revised Standards but sponsors need to apply for the transition process by January 1, 2014 in order to obtain approval by the deadline.
Susan Gaston, CPA, Director of Continuing Education Management at the IRS Return Preparer Office, presented an informative update about Registered Tax Return Preparers.
Currently, Registered Tax Return Preparers (RTRPs) are required to take 15 hours of Continuing Education each year. The IRS approved NASBA and the National Registry of CPE Sponsors as a “qualified accrediting organization.” Therefore, all members of the National Registry of CPE Sponsors are qualified as Continuing Education Providers for the IRS Registered Tax Return Preparer program. Gaston encouraged sponsors not currently approved by the IRS as a continuing education provider to RTRPs to consider expanding their offerings to the significant market of continuing education consumers.
In the last presentation of the Summit, three of the AICPA’s course development experts provided guidance on the value a team approach brings to course development. Michael Ramos, AICPA’s Director of Professional Development, Carol Ann Amico, AICPA’s Senior Manager-Instructional Systems Design, and Kelly Katerakis, CPA, AICPA’s Senior Manager-Content Development, discussed how CPAs and subject matter experts who have never developed courses can take advantage of an instructional design team’s abilities in such areas as communication and defining roles and responsibilities in order to develop informative and effective courses.