Thomson Reuters’s Checkpoint Learning platform offers a robust course catalog, regular webinars, a handful of micro-certifications, and a compliance tracker. Downsides are that you only get all the features and benefits at the highest tier, which starts at $519 per year (lower prices available with longer contract terms). There are no written course reviews available, though there are plenty of ratings on a five-star scale. While the ‘marketing’ website itself is mobile-friendly, the actual learning platform isn’t, which is disappointing for those who need to learn on the go.
Checkpoint Learning is offered by Thomson Reuters, a global news platform that also offers training for legal, tax and accounting professionals. The platform is a compelling option with a robust on-demand course library and a large number of live webinars, as well as micro-certifications, and multi-tier package choices.
Courses/CPE – Solid Options
The platform currently has over 600 on-demand courses available. Courses are available on the online platform, print-based, or print-based with online grading. The style of the course varies based on which option you choose. They offer more than 450 webinars a year, which provides a great variety of topics. They range from basic 1-hour webinars to full-day webinars lasting 8 hours, though the longer webinars aren’t included in all package levels. CPE is available for CPA, CTEC, CFP, and EA, and although they have a fair number of on-demand ethics courses, few of them are state-specific (meaning you may need to go elsewhere if your state requires its own unique ethics course).
Platform/Features – Simple
The website is fairly simple, with multiple ways to sort and filter courses and webcasts. While both courses and webcasts feature a product rating option, there are no written reviews, so it can be hard to zero in on a precise fit. There is not an option for direct instructor Q&A for courses, and very few (okay, we couldn’t actually find any) vetted 3rd party platform reviews (e.g. Capterra). We also couldn't locate any instructor bios. The learning platform itself is easy to use, and while their site says some content is formatted to use with on iPads, it wasn’t at all mobile phone friendly (or at least not the courses we tried). The platform offers CPE tracking and compliance management for all three package levels (described below). There is no free trial option, and no free courses are available (at least none that offer CPE). It would be nice to have a limited option to try before you buy the full packages. They offer 6 micro-certifications on topics like tax fundamentals, forensic accounting, small business start-up, and compilation and review. All certificates are a collection of online courses followed by a final exam to show competency in the subject. While most of these courses are included in the platform packages, the certifications themselves are an extra fee ($499 each).
UX – Mixed
Accessing purchased courses and webinars is pretty straightforward, though the “Homeroom” set up isn’t quite as easy to use as one might hope. The overall look is a bit dated but does the job well enough. The biggest concern is that it appears you can’t actually take a course on the Checkpoint Learning platform. You can access all your data, see the title and information of the course, but to take it, you must click on a very small “Launch” button that can be found on the left side bar or the far right of your course screen. There’s a note that “Clicking the 'Launch' button below may open a new window which points to a third-party website.” Which could be a concern for some companies with very restrictive internet use policies. Once you make it to the actual learning platform, though, it’s fairly smooth sailing. The course is easy to use, and the progress bar at the bottom of the screen makes it easy to see how far you are in the course. There are additional resources like a calculator, bookmark feature, search bar, and option to print that make the actual learning platform one of the better ones we’ve seen.
Cost - Lower with Commitment
The platform offers a variety of purchase options. Individual courses can be purchased a la carte and run from ~$50-$300, depending on the course. Most users would probably choose from one of the three Professional CPE Packages. The basic package simply called Professional CPE starts at $289/year, though with a 2-year commitment that goes down to $265, and down to $249 with a 3-year contract. This package offers a limited selection of courses (375+) and CPE tracking and compliance monitoring, but no webinars. The mid-tier package is Premier CPE starts at $359/year, going down to $325 and $309 with 2- and 3-year contracts, respectively. This package is more robust and includes access to 630+ courses, unlimited short webinars, CPE tracking and compliance monitoring. The ‘unlimited’ option, Premier Plus CPE, starts at $519/year, down to $469/year and $439/year for 2- and 3-year contracts. It includes access to all online and downloadable courses (630+), as well as unlimited webinars (no cap on length), CPE tracking and compliance monitoring, nano-learning options, a free year-end virtual conference, and learning plans to help you design a personalized CPE. If you’re prepared to commit to Checkpoint Learning for the next 3 years, it’s reasonably affordable and well-featured. But with no free trial to explore the platform, it’s a big leap to make.
Team/Firm Capability – Solid
The platform offers general firm solutions like group rates and custom CPE requirements to track user’s education requirements. It also offers administrators the ability to track firm personnel records so CPE compliance can easily be confirmed and to answer user questions about CPE compliance within the platform. It also offers the option to create ‘in-firm’ CPE requirements to track minimum educations requirements established by your firm. However, the website does not note things like corporate LMS integration or SSO (single sign-on). It also doesn’t mention offering custom curriculum, internal (client) course creation and CPE for client-built courses, or creation and calendaring of internal CPE events/webinars.
Checkpoint Learning comes from a well-respected, global company and has some strong features. It provides a good number of on-demand courses, plenty of live webinars, and a powerful compliance tracker. Unfortunately, the mobile experience is not good and the platform is on the high side of average when it comes to pricing for unlimited learning. Also, committing to a multi-year contract can be a bit daunting, especially without a free trial option. But with solid features, and an easy-to-use ‘desktop’ experience, it’s a good choice for CPAs and EAs — but not for other professionals, as their CPE is limited to CPA and EA.