While recognizing the increasing popularity of the continuing professional education (CPE) format known as “Nano-Learning” - which awards a fraction of a credit through a 10-minute lesson and evaluation - the New York State Society of Certified Public Accountants (NYSSCPA) urged CPAs in an Oct. 1 comment letter to not rely on nano courses for the majority of their credits.

Members of the NYSSCPA’s Foundation of Accounting Education’s Board of Trustees and Curriculum Committee wrote the letter in response to the nano-learning exposure draft released by the AICPA and the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) who are looking to update CPE programs.

The nano-learning format would teach a lesson on a certain subject and then test the professional on the covered material, all within a 10-minute timeframe. The lessons are taken independently, without an instructor, and delivered through a computer, tablet, or smart phone.

 “CPAs have an expanding universe of CPE options and the Society, like other providers, is seeking the best new ideas on how to deliver those,” stated Joanne Barry, executive director of the NYSSCPA. “We think nano-learning could be a part of making professional development resources more relevant if the knowledge is applied to real-time situations.”

Nano-learning is already recognized as CPE credit in Maryland and Ohio, and counts for one fifth of a credit hour (.20 credits).

The NYSSCPA’s letter argues how effective nano-learning could be in maintaining a CPA’s overall professional abilities. FAE Trustees president Frieda Aboyoun - a principal drafter of the Society’s letter - said nano-learning is useful if “you’re at work and need to look up something immediately,” but is not “an appropriate learning direction” for a CPA to get the majority of their learning.

 “We believe that if true education is desired, too many credits earned exclusively through a nano format may not meet the Joint Committee’s ultimate objective, which is to educate and maintain the professional competence of a CPA practitioner,” the Society wrote.

However, the Society is still in favor of keeping CPE more relevant and future-ready moving forward.

“We believe that education and the maintenance of professional competence by CPAs are critical to upholding the trust we have duly earned and enjoy in the public domain," the letter continues. "We believe that continuing education is a lifelong process essential to remaining competent and relevant in our ever-changing world, and that such education be obtained in the most appropriate manner.”

For the full NYSSCPA comment letter, head to the Society’s site here.