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Confused by blended and nano-learning? You aren't alone

BOA Business

Anne Janotta Erickson, MNCPA senior business & industry marketing coordinator | August 2018 Footnote

Fun fact: The MNCPA and Minnesota Board of Accountancy (BOA) talk -- a lot.

Yes, we're two separate organizations. The BOA regulates the CPA profession, while the MNCPA is a membership organization built on educating, supporting and advocating for accounting professionals.

But, ultimately, we share an end goal -- you, your CPA certificate and the public at large. And, often, that means teaming up to communicate important messages.

Want proof? Recently, the BOA shared that there's confusion surrounding blended and nano-learning following recent CPE rule changes. So, let's clear things up, once and for all.

What changed?

On Jan. 9, 2018, the BOA's CPE rules changed, broadening the types of CPE delivery formats you can take to include blended and nano-learning. This is great for CPAs interested in exploring different credit options.  

The problem is that some CPAs are taking blended and nano-learning credits from nonapproved sponsors and running into compliance issues as a result.

Definitions, please ...

Let's start with the basic definitions for both formats.

Blended learning incorporates multiple learning formats within one program. This could include lectures, discussion, guided practice, games, case studies or simulations. In addition, the delivery method can vary between group live, group internet-based, self-study or nano-learning.

Nano-learning is CPE in 10-minute increments that's focused on one single learning objective. While it's available online without a real-time instructor, it is not self-study.

So, what's the issue?

This recent noncompliance trend, noticed by the BOA, is not due to unclear definitions. Rather, the issue lies with who's sponsoring the program. Minnesota BOA rules clearly state that blended and nano-learning programs must be approved by NASBA and listed on NASBA's CPE Registry.

If a sponsor is not NASBA-approved and approved for blended or nano-learning formats, the course can't be counted for CPE credit.

Where is this trend happening the most?

Colleges and universities not on the NASBA Registry have proven to be a common culprit. Like CPAs, schools and educators must be made aware of this nuance within the CPE rules.

How can I verify if a CPE sponsor is on the NASBA Registry?

CPE providers listed on the NASBA Registry have a NASBA ID number. This can be searched for on the NASBA Registry's website at www.nasbaregistry.org/sponsor-list.

Is the MNCPA on the NASBA Registry?

The MNCPA is an approved sponsor on the NASBA Registry for group live and group internet-based CPE programs, effective Aug. 1, 2017. We are not approved for blended or nano-learning.

When can blended and nano-learning credits be counted for CPE credit?

Both blended and nano-learning formats can only be counted for CPE credit if earned on or after Jan. 9, 2018. These formats can be used as carryback hours to a prior period if taken on or after Jan. 9, 2018, but they can't be counted at all if they were taken prior to Jan. 9, 2018.


Contact the Minnesota BOA regarding CPE and certification questions at 651-296-7938 or www.boa.state.mn.us.

The MNCPA is here to help you understand the rules that impact your certification. Contact MNCPA customer service at 952-831-2707 or customerservice@mncpa.org.