“The future is already here. It’s just not evenly distributed.” — William Gibson

On May 6, 2014, the Maryland State Board of Public Accountancy unanimously approved 10-minute increments of learning (0.20 credit hours = 10 minutes and 0.50 credit hours = 25 minutes of the standard 50-minute credit hour), recognizing the evolution of learning and technology. This action will require approval of a regulation and the requisite process until it is effective. 

This paves the way for just-in-time microlearning, which can target specific topics in short bursts of learning. Imagine an audit team going to a client and one of the newly assigned staff wants to brush up on auditing cash. Or a supervisor getting ready to have a review conversation wants to refresh on feedback techniques. Research shows that learning in this format can actually be more effective than multiple topics in all-day formats. There is also the advantage of having the learning much closer to the timeframe in which it will be actually used. 

This exciting development is extending the trend toward more effective e-learning and our prior work with the State Board in 2009, when Maryland became the first state in the nation to recognize e-learning of all types as equal to in-person, instructor-led training. That means all 80 hours of required CPE (every two years) can be taken online and / or via self-study.

Our profession is one of the few that built in the concept of continuous learning through continuing professional education into its licensing renewal processes. In Maryland, our first CPE law was passed in 1976 by our State Board of Public Accountancy. Since then, we have continued to update that law and regulations to reflect the evolution of the CPA profession and learning techniques. At the national level, the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) works with the AICPA to develop model standards for CPE as guidance for providers and state boards. 

There was yet another development last week, as the AICPA released its report from the Future of Learning Task Force. The report outlines how they see learning evolving for the CPA profession. Our own Jackie Brown, COO, is featured in this update video from the AICPA Regional Council meeting in New York. The AICPA Task Force has done extensive research on the future of learning (outside and inside the CPA profession) and is building on significant future research projects from the CPA Horizons 2025 report and the Pathways Commission on Accounting Education. We are very fortunate to have a profession that is future-focused and working to keep up with our rapidly changing world.

Here at the MACPA, we have already been working on the future of learning at our Business Learning Institute, our center for innovation and learning. We have been working on new ways to engage learners, new delivery techniques, and even new ways to manage learning. We have combined future skills and competencies research into model curriculums (the Bounce) that can be customized for firms and organizations. (See Building the Agile Learning Organization.) 

 

Here at the MACPA and BLI, we believe that in today’s rapidly changing and complex world, the winners will be those who can keep their rate of learning greater than the rate of change and greater than the competition (or L>C2). These exciting developments in learning and learning technologies will enable CPAs to be the most knowledgeable professionals, in addition to the most trusted professionals.

Here is to the future of learning and keeping your L>C2!

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