Thanks in large part to the COVID-19 pandemic, there is now a greater variety of ways to earn continuing professional education (CPE) credit.  While the traditional method of attending a course or conference in person is slowly returning with the lessening of pandemic restrictions, earning credit through on-demand courses, live classes, text based learning, electronic media and other methods is on the increase.  This post will define the types of instructional delivery methods that many professionals are using to meet their CPE licensing requirements.

Live Instruction

Of all course types, the method of attending through live online instruction was used more during the pandemic in the place of attending in-person classes and conferences.   

Group Live Instruction

The group live instruction method is defined as synchronous (simultaneous) learning in a group environment with real-time interaction of an instructor or subject matter expert that provides the required elements of attendance monitoring and engagement.  Instead of a group of professionals attending a course at an off-site location in person, they access the live course as a group.  There are required live engagement activities and attendance is monitored and submitted for CPE credit.

Group Internet-Based Instruction

For many professionals, attending a CPE course on a platform such as Zoom fits easily into their daily schedules that likely include several Zoom calls or conferences.  Group internet-based instruction is defined as individual participation in synchronous learning with real-time interaction of an instructor or subject matter expert and built-in processes for attendance and interactivity.


Self-Study Coursework

Self-study courses are great for professionals who do not have the opportunity to attend classes during the workday as many in public accounting are able to do.  A self-study course is an educational program completed individually without the assistance or interaction of a real-time instructor.  To award credit for a self-study course, a qualified assessment must be completed at program end.  A scoring minimum of 70% must be achieved to receive credit for the course.  These courses can often be completed at the attendee’s own pace which is beneficial to those working a full-time job.

Nano Learning Programs

A nano-learning program is designed for a participant to tackle one learning objective in a minimum of 10 minutes and less than 20 minutes through the use of a type of electronic media and without interaction with a real-time instructor.  A nano-learning program is only completed by an individual participant and the topic is very narrow in focus which makes it different from a self-study program.  A nano-learning program cannot be used for a comprehensive topic, especially one with complex issues.  A qualified assessment must be completed with a scoring minimum achieved. 

Blended Learning Programs

A blended learning program offers a combination of activities, some of which have elements of a self-study course, such as control over pace and time, as well as elements of a group program which has all participants completing coursework simultaneously.  Multiple delivery methods can be used in a blended learning course.