Educational Design for CPA Competencies Introduction For CPA Canada’s national Professional Education Program (PEP), creation of the Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) designation provides an opportunity to apply best practices for curriculum development while designing a new pre-‐certification education program. This white paper supports the PEP’s work by outlining best practices from scholarly educational research, especially Fink’s (2003) course design model, for the context of CPA competencies.1 The educational best practices outlined in this white paper also apply to other educational settings and may be particularly useful to accounting programs in Canadian post-‐secondary institutions. The intent of this document is not to prescribe specific features of an accounting education program, but rather to serve as a set of guidelines, with illustrative examples, to assist in the initial design and continuous improvement of the PEP. The ultimate goal of this document is to support educational practices that will provide aspiring CPAs with effective learning experiences and demonstrate a commitment to excellence for professional accounting education in Canada.
Fink’s Educational Design Model The educational design model shown in Exhibit 1 is drawn from the work of Fink (2003). Implementation of the model relies on an in-‐depth analysis to identify factors relevant to the educational situation, as shown at the bottom of the exhibit. Relevant situational factors include the instructional context, expectations of students and other key stakeholders, student characteristics, and characteristics of the delivery system. The next three sections of this document describe the three key components of the model: significant learning, formative assessment, and active learning. The last section addresses the systematic integration of the three components.
As defined in The Chartered Professional Accountant Competency Map: Understanding the Competencies a Candidate Must Demonstrate to Become a CPA, issued in 2012.
Page 2 of 19 Educational Design for CPA Competencies
Exhibit 1: Educational Design Model Adapted from Fink (2003, p. 127)2 Teaching and Learning Activities
CPA Competency Map
Feedback and Assessment
In-‐Depth Situational Analysis
Fink’s model is also available in an online document titled, A Self-‐Directed Guide to Designing Courses for Significant Learning, available from Dee Fink & Associates at http://www.deefinkandassociates.com/GuidetoCourseDesignAug05.pdf
Page 3 of 19 Educational Design for CPA Competencies
Significant Learning The first major component of the educational design model in Exhibit 1 consists of the learning goals for the PEP, which are specified in the CPA Competency Map (hereafter referred to as “CPA map”).3 The CPA map details six technical competencies and five enabling competencies, as well as specific proficiency levels for each competency. During the PEP, candidates need to undergo what Fink refers to as significant learning, which will enable them to successfully pursue any professional accounting role or position. To achieve significant learning, the program should focus on more than understanding and remembering technical knowledge; it should emphasize the enabling competencies (i.e., the professional skills that are essential to the CPA profession). Accordingly, the enabling competencies are expected to be integrated with technical competencies throughout the program. The significant learning goals shown in Exhibit 2 are adapted from Fink’s (2003, p. 30) taxonomy of significant learning and the CPA map. Learning goals that enable professional competencies for candidates in the PEP include three cognitive goals, as specified in the CPA map, plus three additional goals.
The Chartered Professional Accountant Competency Map: Understanding the Competencies a Candidate Must Demonstrate to Become a CPA, issued in 2012.
Page 4 of 19 Educational Design for CPA Competencies
Exhibit 2: Significant Learning Goals
Cognitive Goals Three cognitive goals are defined in the CPA map, based on the cognitive system in Marzano and Kendall (2007).4 These goals are most closely related to the Problem-‐Solving and Decision-‐Making enabling competency in the CPA map, but they also affect candidate performance on all of the technical and enabling competencies. Candidates are likely to begin the PEP with relatively weak cognitive skills, allowing them to demonstrate sufficient (i.e., Level A) proficiency only when addressing problems within a single topic area, having little ambiguity and low complexity. During the PEP, candidates are expected to achieve proficiency when addressing more complex problems, with deeper analysis and integration across multiple technical areas.5 Retrieval and Comprehension is the lowest cognitive level, and includes primarily the ability to explain, describe, and correctly apply technical knowledge. Common verbs associated with this learning goal include: applies, calculates, classifies, describes, explains, reconciles, records, and uses.6 4
Marzano and Kendall provide an updated version of the well-‐known Bloom’s Taxonomy. Most candidates with an undergraduate accounting degree are probably capable of Level B proficiency for enabling competencies, but if their prior accounting courses focused primarily on technical competencies, they might not have adequately developed this ability. Furthermore, the transition from Level B to the Level A proficiency (required for successful completion of the PEP) is likely to occur slowly for most candidates. Higher levels of CPA proficiency for enabling competencies correspond to higher levels of cognitive development. Further information about accounting student cognitive development can be found in Wolcott (2011) and Wolcott and Lynch (2002). 6 CPA map, p. 85, with definitions on pp. 93-‐94. 5
Page 5 of 19 Educational Design for CPA Competencies
Analysis is the next higher cognitive level, and includes many reasoning skills, including: identification of problems; identification, selection, and application of analysis techniques; and interpretation of quantitative and qualitative information. Analysis includes making logical connections and integrating different pieces of information and diverse perspectives in ambiguous situations. Common verbs associated with this learning goal include: analyzes, compares, detects, discusses, distinguishes, estimates, examines, identifies, incorporates, integrates, interprets, performs, predicts, prepares, recognizes, researches, and understands.7 Utilization of Knowledge is the highest cognitive level, and includes establishing and using criteria to reach conclusions or make recommendations, often involving trade-‐offs among competing priorities. Common verbs associated with this learning goal include: advises, assesses, concludes/ draws conclusions, creates, designs, determines, develops, documents results, drafts, ensures, evaluates, formulates, justifies, maintains, manages, monitors, plans, prioritizes, provides advice/input, provides insight, recommends, resolves, reviews, selects, and suggests.8
Learning How to Learn Learning how to learn includes the ability to perform well as a student and, more importantly, to continue to learn as a CPA professional. Although candidates have already completed an undergraduate education requiring use of learning skills, they might have little experience with higher cognitive levels, especially in ambiguous situations. Thus, candidates may need to adopt new learning approaches in the PEP. This learning goal is most closely related to the Self-‐Management enabling competency, but it also influences learning for all of the technical and enabling competencies in the CPA map.
Motivation and Values Motivation and values influence candidates’ attitudes, priorities, and actions. It is not sufficient for candidates to exhibit knowledge of professional codes of conduct; they are expected to adopt the characteristics of a CPA, including the ability to act with honesty, integrity, credibility, self-‐confidence, and independence, while coping with ambiguity, conflicts of interest, and the need to protect the public interest. They are also expected to exemplify and enhance the reputation of the profession. This learning goal is most closely related to the Professional and Ethical Behaviour enabling competency, but it also influences how candidates approach learning for all of the competencies in the CPA map, and the values and priorities they use when analyzing information and making decisions.
Learning About Others Learning about others includes the ability to solicit information from, and convey information to, other people, to recognize alternative viewpoints and incorporate them into analyses, and to work effectively with others in team and leadership positions. Candidates often have little experience adapting analyses and communications to meet the needs of diverse audiences, or eliciting the best performance from others. This learning goal is most closely related to the Communication, and Teamwork and Leadership enabling competencies, but it also influences performance for many of the technical and enabling competencies in the CPA map.
CPA map, p. 85, with definitions on pp. 93-‐94. CPA map, p. 86, with definitions on pp. 93-‐94.
Page 6 of 19 Educational Design for CPA Competencies
Formative Assessment The second major component of the educational design model in Exhibit 1 is feedback and assessment. The purpose of formative assessment is to enhance learning by providing feedback information that is useful to candidates and educators (including online facilitators, workshop session leaders, and program developers) during a module and/or the program.9 Formative assessment might be formal (e.g., an assignment that is turned in and marked) or informal (e.g., a session leader randomly calling on candidates while debriefing a case). However, effective feedback changes future candidate performance, which means that the feedback must provide direction that candidates will understand and use. Exhibit 3 provides seven principles of good feedback practice (Juwah et al. 2004; Nicol and Macfarlane-‐ Dick 2006), reflecting conceptual and empirical education research. The following discussions briefly explain each principle and provide examples for possible consideration by the PEP.10
The formative assessment discussed in this document is concerned with providing information to enhance learning within PEP modules, in contrast with the summative evaluation that will occur at the end of each module and at the end of the program. In the CPA program, summative evaluations are created outside of the PEP. 10 Additional resources on providing effective feedback include Ambrose et al. (2010), Angelo and Cross (1993), Race (2010), and Svinicki and McKeachie (2011, Chapter 9).
Page 7 of 19 Educational Design for CPA Competencies
Exhibit 3: Seven Principles of Good Feedback Practice Adapted from Juwah et al. (2004) and Nicol and Macfarlane-‐Dick (2006) Clarify Good Performance Provide Informahon for Teaching
Provide Opportunihes to Close Gaps
Facilitate Self-‐ Assessment
Principles of Good Feedback
Encourage Posihve Mohvahon
Deliver High-‐ Quality Informahon
Encourage Teacher & Peer Dialogue
Clarify What Good Performance Is (Goals, Criteria, Expected Standards) Learning is enhanced when candidates and educators have a clear and mutual understanding of educational goals, the criteria against which performance will be measured, and the standards of performance. Although the CPA map provides considerable details, differences in interpretations of the competency descriptions and proficiency levels can lead to confusion and impede learning. In addition, candidates’ competency weaknesses can impair their ability to understand criteria/standards and cause them to inappropriately discount competencies (such as enabling skills) with which they have less experience. Thus, one goal is to increase the likelihood that feedback is understood and can be acted upon. The following ideas for formative feedback are adapted from Nicol and Macfarlane-‐Dick (2006): • Use carefully-‐constructed rubrics or other statements to describe criteria/standards and define different levels of performance • Provide candidates with exemplars as models of strong performance • Hold discussions and/or have candidates reflect about criteria/standards before assignments are completed • Have candidates evaluate peers’ work, using specific criteria/standards • Involve candidates in a workshop to establish assessment criteria
Facilitate Self-Assessment (Reflection) in Learning Structured self-‐assessment (or reflection) activities in which candidates identify and apply criteria/standards can improve self-‐management skills and performance. The following ideas for formative feedback are adapted from Nicol and Macfarlane-‐Dick (2006): Page 8 of 19 Educational Design for CPA Competencies
• • • • • • • • •
Provide candidates with training and opportunities to practice self-‐assessment Ask candidates to identify standards/criteria that will apply to their work Ask candidates to judge how their work relates to the standards/criteria Have candidates evaluate and provide feedback on each other’s work (peer evaluation) Create frequent opportunities for candidates to reflect on their work When they submit work, have candidates request the kinds of feedback they would like Have candidates identify the strengths and weaknesses in their own work in relation to criteria/standards before handing it in Have candidates reflect on their achievements, and compile and reflect upon selected work in a portfolio Have candidates establish achievement milestones, reflect on their progress, and plan their future action
Deliver High-Quality Information to Candidates About Their Learning High-‐quality feedback helps candidates identify, and take actions to reduce, weaknesses in their performance. Feedback from a teacher (e.g., PEP online facilitator or workshop session leader) can be especially helpful for correcting candidates’ misunderstandings of competencies, criteria, and standards. The following ideas for high-‐quality, formative feedback are adapted from Nicol and Macfarlane-‐Dick (2006):11 • Relate feedback to competencies, criteria, and performance standards • Provide explanations to help candidates understand competencies, criteria, and performance standards • Avoid providing so many criteria (e.g., via a grading sheet) that candidates see assignments as a list of “to dos” rather than as a holistic process • Provide a small number of highly relevant comments, to increase the likelihood that candidates use the feedback • Provide comments that describe how written work comes across to the reader, to help candidates recognize differences between their intentions and the effects of their writing • Provide corrective advice in addition to strengths and weaknesses • Provide feedback frequently, to enable better self-‐management • Provide timely feedback (shortly after submission or before submission) • Prioritize areas for candidate improvement • Direct candidates to higher-‐order learning goals • Provide feedback that is developmentally appropriate (e.g., one cognitive level higher than current performance) • Provide online assessments that candidates can access any time, and multiple times
Also see Phillips and Wolcott (2013) and Wolcott and Phillips (2012) for literature reviews and evidence about student responses to feedback on an accounting case assignment.
Page 9 of 19 Educational Design for CPA Competencies
Encourage Teacher and Peer Dialogue Around Learning Dialogue with teachers (PEP online facilitators or workshop session leaders) and peers can help candidates better understand assignments, aspects of their performance, or feedback, thus helping them take action to improve future performance. Peer feedback can also expose candidates to alternative approaches and help them become more objective when performing self-‐evaluations. The following ideas for formative feedback are adapted from Nicol and Macfarlane-‐Dick (2006): • Give candidates opportunities to discuss feedback with the facilitator or session leader • Have candidates respond to feedback and engage in continuing dialogue • Structure small group discussions about feedback (after providing written feedback); in pairs or small groups, have candidates explain feedback and/or concepts to each other • Have peers suggest strategies for responding to feedback • Have peers provide feedback to allow for revision before submission • Have candidates peer-‐evaluate each other’s work in relation to published criteria • Ask candidates to find one or two examples of feedback comments that they found useful, and explain how they helped • Have candidates perform work in groups, with candidates discussing criteria and standards before the project begins
Encourage Positive Motivational Beliefs and Self-Esteem Candidate motivation for learning influences their ability to learn from feedback and to commit to self-‐ management. Thus, feedback should steer candidate attention toward goals for learning or performance. The following ideas for formative feedback are adapted from Nicol and Macfarlane-‐Dick (2006): • Provide candidates with feedback and NO marks (instead of marks alone or marks with feedback), to encourage them to focus on learning goals instead of marks • Provide marks on written work only after candidates have responded to feedback comments • Provide feedback that focuses on learning goals • Praise effort and strategic behaviors rather than ability or intelligence • Focus feedback on the task rather than on factors that affect self-‐esteem • Help candidates understand that the feedback is an evaluation of performance rather than an evaluation of the person • Increase the number of low-‐stakes assessments, to enhance motivation and self-‐esteem • Allocate time for candidates to rewrite selected pieces of work, to help change their expectations about purpose and learning goals • Use automated testing with feedback (e.g., clickers during workshops; electronic feedback online) • Have candidates submit drafts and/or make resubmissions
Page 10 of 19 Educational Design for CPA Competencies
Provide Opportunities to Close the Gap Between Current and Desired Performance Candidates need opportunities to revise their work (or to perform repeated, similar assignments) so that they can explicitly close gaps between current and desired performance. The following ideas for formative feedback are adapted from Nicol and Macfarlane-‐Dick (2006): • Use feedback to support candidates while engaged in their work • Help candidates recognize the next steps in learning, and how to take them • Build feedback into a task (e.g., a group task with peer interaction, or a computer simulation) • Break a task down into components, with feedback on each component • Provide candidates with opportunities to repeat the same cycle of task and feedback (e.g., by allowing resubmission) • Place more emphasis on providing feedback on work-‐in-‐progress (e.g., structures for memos or plans for reports), to encourage candidates to plan the strategies they might use to improve subsequent work • Model for candidates the strategies an expert would use to close a performance gap • Explicitly provide “action points” alongside feedback • In groups, have candidates identify their own action points
Provide Information to Help Shape Teaching Teachers (PEP online facilitators, session leaders, and program developers) need good information about how candidates are progressing so that they can provide candidates with useful feedback for the “next steps” in their development. Teachers also need to review and reflect on information about candidate difficulties so that they can modify their teaching approach. The following ideas for formative feedback are adapted from Nicol and Macfarlane-‐Dick (2006): • Review and reflect on assessment feedback data • Generate assessment data to provide information about candidates (e.g., by setting assessment tasks, questioning of candidates, and observing behavior such as presentations) • Use assessment information to uncover candidates’ difficulties with specific competencies • Use one-‐minute papers or other classroom assessment techniques (e.g., Angelo and Cross 1993) • When candidates submit work, have them request the kinds of feedback they would like • When candidates submit work, have them identify where they are having difficulties
Page 11 of 19 Educational Design for CPA Competencies
Active Learning The third major component of the educational design model in Exhibit 1 is active learning. Development of CPA competencies requires use of learning activities that will significantly impact candidates’ knowledge and skills—i.e., that involve deep, active learning. Deep learning increases the ability of candidates to retain and apply competencies in new situations and is the opposite of surface learning, in which candidates focus on short-‐term memorization and recitation. Active learning engages candidates in realistic work tasks and meaningful reflection and is the opposite of passive learning, such as lectures and reading, in which candidates tend to focus on receiving information. The appropriate design of active learning depends on the learning situation, including learner characteristics. Considerable research indicates that adult learners gain knowledge and skills based on personal goals and other characteristics. Thus, learning activities in the PEP are more likely to be effective if they are tailored for candidates’ characteristics. Exhibit 4 provides six core adult learning principles (Knowles et al. 2011), to guide educational design for the adult population of CPA candidates.
Exhibit 4: Core Adult Learning Principles Adapted from Knowles et al. (2011)
Need to Know Mohvahon to Learn
Adult Learning Principles Orientahon to Learning
Prior Experiences Readiness to Learn
Page 12 of 19 Educational Design for CPA Competencies
The following discussions of each adult learning principle draw on the concepts in Knowles et al. (2011) and Mezirow (1991).12
Learner’s Need to Know CPA candidates are more likely to be actively engaged if they know why a learning experience will be useful to them. Although they know that the PEP is designed to develop CPA competencies, candidates may be unaware of the ways in which different aspects of the competencies will matter to their current and future work, performance on summative evaluations, learning later in the program, and so on.13 Candidates will more actively seek knowledge and skills if they understand how learning activities will be beneficial.
Self-Concept of the Learner Adult learners often resent learning experiences in which they lack control, yet they are often conditioned by previous learning experiences to behave as passive learners. In addition, many CPA candidates may hold beliefs that strong performance should come naturally with little effort, or that their learning is primarily the responsibility of educators. These types of self-‐theories prevent candidates from becoming self-‐directed learners.14 Learning experiences can be designed to reduce CPA candidate reliance on educators and help them make the transition from passive learners to active, self-‐directed learners. For example, candidates could be asked to identify something they would like to be able to do in the future (beyond the general goal of becoming a CPA), identify the knowledge and skills they would need, and then develop a plan for acquiring the necessary competency. In cooperation with their workplace mentors, candidates might create a learning agenda that can enhance candidate learning at work as well as in the PEP.
Prior Experiences of the Learner CPA candidates have diverse backgrounds, including work experience, interests, knowledge, and skills. Thus, candidates’ needs may differ and they may benefit from flexibility in learning activities. The PEP may also be able to take advantage of differences among candidates’ prior experiences to enhance group-‐ and teamwork-‐based learning. On the other hand, prior experiences can hinder learning. Learning activities may be needed to help candidates overcome ingrained biases, habits, and mental models that interfere with competency development. For example, when addressing a complex problem, many CPA candidates are likely to offer only partially-‐reasoned conclusions, and to ignore important contradictory information (Wolcott 2011). This pattern of thinking may become so entrenched that candidates may resist change, especially if they believe their approach has been sufficient in previous education or workplace situations.
Readiness to Learn The CPA map is designed to take into account the idea that candidate readiness to learn will progress across modules in the PEP; later modules will focus on greater complexity and require higher-‐level proficiency. The PEP can support candidate learning by ensuring that earlier modules establish the foundational knowledge and skills needed to support development of competencies in the later modules. This is especially important for competencies that rely on higher-‐level cognitive skills, which 12
The core adult learning principles described here provide research-‐based guidance for the types of learning activities that are likely to be effective for CPA candidates. Other educational models might also be useful, including those in Ambrose et al. (2010), Biggs and Tang (2011), Cullen et al. (2012), Horton (2012), Petty (2009), Race (2010), Svinicki (2004), Tagg (2003), and Taylor et al. (2000). 13 Note: Summative assessments are created outside of the PEP. 14 See, for example, Tagg (2003, Chapter 6) and Svinicki and McKeachie (2011, Chapter 20).
Page 13 of 19 Educational Design for CPA Competencies
require time and practice to develop.15 Readiness can also be supported and promoted by exposing candidates to exemplars of strong performance, use of rubrics pointing to future expectations, and other learning techniques. Readiness can be further supported by linking new learning to the current work needs of candidates (when possible). Because CPA candidates are likely to differ in their readiness to learn, they may need differing amounts of direction and support. Assessments of candidate competencies can help program developers to create learning experiences that are developmentally appropriate.
Orientation to Learning CPA candidates are likely to be more motivated when learning activities are based on authentic situations perceived as relevant to their careers and lives. The PEP can take advantage of this motivation because CPA competencies are most likely to be developed in complex contexts that are likely to be of interest to candidates—i.e., those involving solutions to practical problems, needs of internal or external clients, consideration of strategic priorities, etc. The use of interesting business problems can enhance candidate motivation and, at the same time, provide appropriate context for competency development.
Motivation to Learn New CPA candidates are probably accustomed to learning situations in which performance is driven by external motivators such as marks/grades, and they may be transitioning as adult learners to greater reliance on internal motivators, such as a sense of accomplishment and self-‐respect. However, this transition is often hindered by barriers such as time constraints and doubts about their ability to perform well on the high-‐stake CPA program final evaluation. The PEP can assist candidates in this transition and encourage greater learning by explicitly helping candidates achieve success (e.g., through progressive development of competencies across PEP modules), gain a sense of empowerment (e.g., by allowing options in the educational process), and perceive that learning experiences are valuable and enjoyable.16
Active Learning The core adult learning principles discussed above suggest that CPA candidates will learn more effectively and efficiently if they are engaged in active learning. Based on the description in Bonwell and Eison (1991, p. 2), active learning in the PEP would entail: • Involving candidates in more than reading and listening • Placing less emphasis on transmitting information and more on developing candidates’ skills • Involving candidates in higher-‐order thinking (i.e., analysis and knowledge utilization) • Engaging candidates in activities • Placing greater emphasis on candidates’ exploration of their own attitudes and values Bonwell and Eison (1991, p. 2) defined active learning as ensuring that learners are “doing things and thinking about the things they are doing.” As shown in Exhibit 5, Fink (2003) extends this idea by envisioning active learning as an integrated combination of three elements: experience (doing), reflective dialogue (thinking about doing), and acquisition of information and ideas. 15
Research suggests that candidate learning will vary primarily with stages of cognitive development (Knowles et al. 2011, p. 226), so more effective learning activities are likely to be those that explicitly address and promote cognitive development, as described for accounting education in Wolcott (2011). 16 Wlodkowski (2008, Chapter 4), Robinson (2013, Chapter 5), and Svinicki and McKeachie (2011, Chapter 11) provide more information about adult motivation to learn, along with instructional implications and suggestions.
Page 14 of 19 Educational Design for CPA Competencies
Exhibit 5: Holistic View of Active Learning Adapted from Fink (2003, p. 107)
Informahon & Ideas
Experience The first element of active learning in Exhibit 5 is experience, which refers to the type and degree of action in which candidates are engaged. Candidates might be directly or indirectly involved in experiences that include observing or doing. For example: Indirectly observing Viewing a video of an expert describing the thought process used in an analysis Directly observing
Watching a seasoned professional present the recommendations from analyses to management
Preparing a hypothetical analysis
Performing an analysis in a work situation
Candidates should be engaged in rich learning experiences, which simultaneously address several learning goals (Fink 2003).17 Examples include role playing, simulations, and authentic projects.18 Additional possible types of learning experiences that might be used in the PEP are too numerous to identify in this document. Useful resources with ideas that might be particularly useful for the PEP include Barkley (2010), Barkley et al. (2005), Biggs and Tang (2011), Buskist and Groccia (2011), Clark and Mayer (2011), Finkel (2000), Horton (2012), Petty (2009), Svinicki and McKeachie (2011), West and West (2009), and Wlodkowski (2008). 17
As discussed earlier, the significant learning goals relevant to CPA competencies in Exhibit 2 include three cognitive goals (retrieval and comprehension, analysis, and knowledge utilization), plus goals for learning how to learn, motivation and values, and learning about others. 18 Authentic projects are similar to the projects that candidates are likely to experience in the workplace as an entry-‐level CPA.
Page 15 of 19 Educational Design for CPA Competencies
Reflective Dialogue The second element of active learning in Exhibit 5 is reflective dialogue, in which candidates reflect on their learning experiences. Reflection may be done individually (e.g., via one-‐minute papers, journals, or learning portfolios) or may involve others (e.g., discussions with peers, online facilitators, workshop session leaders, or workplace mentors). In addition to reflection about learning content (e.g., technical knowledge and its application), candidates may reflect on their learning processes (e.g., “Where did I have the most difficulty?”). CPA candidates, PEP online facilitators and session leaders, and candidate workplace mentors may be uncomfortable with, or have little experience, engaging in meaningful reflective dialogue, so it may be necessary to provide considerable reflection structure and guidance, and to expect reflection skills to develop over time.19
Information and Ideas The last element of active learning in Exhibit 5 is the acquisition of key information and ideas (i.e., learning content). In the PEP, information and ideas may be acquired online or in workshop sessions. To free workshop session time for experiential and reflective activities, learning content should be acquired online when possible and may take many forms, such as text/readings, videos/screencasts, email inquiry of an online facilitator, discussions among candidates, and so on. Interactive methods (e.g., text or screencasts with embedded quiz questions that are automatically marked) can be used to actively engage candidates as they acquire new knowledge. To develop research skills, candidates can be asked to conduct research to locate relevant information in professional handbooks or other publications, relevant governmental documents, business databases, etc.
Overall Set of Learning Activities More effective learning strategies can be developed by combining the three elements of active learning in various ways. Examples of learning strategies that involve coherent sets of activities include team-‐ based learning (e.g., Michaelson et al 2008) and accelerated learning (e.g., Meier 2000). However, it is not necessary for the PEP to adopt strategies created by others; the goal is to engage candidates with experiences, reflective dialogue, and information and ideas that efficiently lead to deep learning of CPA competencies.
Useful resources on reflective dialogue include Bolton (2010) and Petty (2009, Chapter 15).
Page 16 of 19 Educational Design for CPA Competencies
Integrated Educational Design While developing individual aspects of the PEP, it can be easy to lose sight of overall integration. Throughout the process of developing the modules and program, it is critical to ensure that the three components of the educational design model in Exhibit 1—significant learning (i.e., CPA competencies), active learning, and formative assessment—are systematically integrated. Each component is most likely to be aligned with, and supported by, the other components if all three are designed simultaneously. This means that formative assessments must be designed early in the design process, along with learning activities, so that both assessments and learning activities are consistent with the full range of CPA competencies. The overall design should also ensure that: • Situational factors are reflected in decisions • Potential problems are identified and addressed • The design adequately addresses student characteristics and adult learning principles • Development of competencies is planned to progress systematically across modules in the PEP • Extraneous learning activities (i.e., those unrelated to CPA competencies) are eliminated • Formative assessments exploit the principles of good feedback • Learning activities and formative assessments adequately prepare students for summative evaluations (e.g., at the end of each module, and the CPA program final evaluation)
Page 17 of 19 Educational Design for CPA Competencies
References Ambrose, S. A., M. W. Bridges, M. Di Pietro, M. C. Lovett, and M. K. Norman. 2010. How Learning Works: 7 Research-‐Based Principles for Smart Teaching. San Francisco: Jossey-‐Bass. Angelo, T. A., and K. P. Cross. 1993. Classroom Assessment Techniques: A Handbook for College Teachers (2e). San Francisco: Jossey-‐Bass. Barkley, E. F. 2010. Student Engagement Techniques: A Handbook for College Faculty. San Francisco: Jossey-‐Bass. Barkley, E. F., K. P. Cross, and C. H. Major. 2005. Collaborative Learning Techniques: A Handbook for College Faculty. San Francisco: Jossey-‐Bass. Biggs, J., and C. Tang. 2011. Teaching for Quality Learning at University (4e). Maidenhead: Society for Research into Higher Education and Open University Press. Bolton, G. 2010. Reflective Practice: Writing and Professional Development (3e). London: Sage. Bonwell, C., and J. Eison. 1991. Active Learning: Creating Excitement in the Classroom. ASHE-‐ERIC Higher Education Report No. 1. Washington D.C.: George Washington University, School of Education and Human Development. Buskist, W., and J. E. Groccia (editors). 2011. Evidence-‐Based Teaching. New Directions for Teaching and Learning No. 128. San Francisco: Jossey-‐Bass. Clark, R. C., and R. E. Mayer. 2011. E-‐Learning and the Science of Instruction: Proven Guidelines for Consumers and Designers of Multimedia Learning (3e). San Francisco: Pfeiffer. Cullen, R., M. Harris, and R. R. Hill; M. Weimer (consulting editor). 2012. The Learner-‐Centered Curriculum: Design and Implementation. San Francisco: Jossey-‐Bass. Fink, L. D. 2003. Creating Significant Learning Experiences: An Integrated Approach to Designing College Courses. San Francisco: Jossey-‐Bass. Finkel, D. L. 2000. Teaching with Your Mouth Shut. Portsmouth, NH: Boynton/Cook Publishers. Horton, W. 2012. E-‐Learning by Design (2e). San Francisco: Pfeiffer. Juwah, C., D. Macfarlane-‐Dick, B. Matthew, D. Nicol, D. Ross, and B. Smith. 2004. Enhancing Student Learning Through Effective Formative Feedback. York: The Higher Education Academy (Generic Centre). Available online at http://www.heacademy.ac.uk/assets/documents/resources/resourcedatabase/id353_senlef_gu ide.pdf [Accessed November 14, 2012]. Knowles, M. S., E. F. Holton, and R. A. Swanson. 2011. The Adult Learner: The Definitive Classic in Adult Education and Human Resource Development (7e). Oxford: Elsevier. Marzano, R. J., and J. S. Kendall. 2007. The New Taxonomy of Educational Objectives (2e). Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press. Meier, D. 2000. The Accelerated Learning Handbook. New York: McGraw-‐Hill. Mezirow, J. 1991. Transformative Dimensions of Adult Learning. San Francisco: Josse-‐Bass. Page 18 of 19 Educational Design for CPA Competencies
Michaelson, L. K., M. Sweet, and D. X. Parmelee (editors). 2008. Team-‐Based Learning: Small-‐Group Learning’s Next Big Step. New Directions for Teaching and Learning No. 116. San Francisco: Jossey-‐Bass. Nicol, D. J., and D. Macfarlane-‐Dick. 2006. Formative assessment and self-‐regulated learning: A model and seven principles of good feedback practice. Studies in Higher Education 31(2), 199-‐218. Petty, G. 2009. Evidence-‐Based Teaching: A Practical Approach (2e). Cheltenham: Nelson Thornes. Phillips, F., and S. K. Wolcott. 2013. The Effects of Summary versus Interspersed Feedback on the Quality of Student Revisions to a Written Case Assignment. Paper under journal review. Race, P. 2010. Making Learning Happen: A Guide for Post-‐Compulsory Education (2e). London: Sage. Robinson, O. 2013. Development Through Adulthood: An Integrative Sourcebook. New York: Palgrave Macmillan. Svinicki, M. D. 2004. Learning and Motivation in the Postsecondary Classroom. Bolton, MA: Anker Publishing. Svinicki, M. D., and W. J. McKeachie. 2011. McKeachie’s Teaching Tips: Strategies, Research, and Theory for College and University Teachers (13e).Belmont: Wadsworth. Tagg, J. 2003. The Learning Paradigm College. San Francisco: Anker Publishing. Taylor, K., C. Marienau, and M. Fiddler. 2000. Developing Adult Learners: Strategies for Teachers and Trainers. San Francisco: Jossey-‐Bass. West, J. A., and M. L. West. 2009. Using Wikis for Online Collaboration: The Power of the Read-‐Write Web. San Francisco: Jossey-‐Bass. Wlodkowski, R. J. 2008. Enhancing Adult Motivation to Learn: A Comprehensive Guide for Teaching All Adults (3e). San Francisco: Jossey-‐Bass. Wolcott, S. K. 2011. Professional attributes: Teaching the fine arts of being a professional accountant. In Leveraging Change -‐-‐ The New Pillars of Accounting Education, edited by Wiecek, E. M., and G. Beal, 58-‐86. Toronto, ON: The Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants and University of Toronto. Wolcott, S. K., and C. L. Lynch. 2002. Critical Thinking: The Key to Professional Competencies. Sarasota, FL: American Accounting Association. Wolcott, S. K., and F. Phillips. 2012. An Exploration of Instructor Feedback and Student Revisions on a Written Accounting Case. Paper presented at American Accounting Association annual meeting, Washington, D. C.
Page 19 of 19 Educational Design for CPA Competencies