Mar 14, 2024

As a professional in the accounting field, I've always held continuing professional education (CPE) in high regard. It's not just about ticking boxes; it's about staying relevant, informed, and maintaining the highest standards of practice. That's why recent revelations regarding Earmark, a CPE sponsor, have left me deeply concerned, and frankly, shocked.

Let me break it down for you. Earmark, offers educational content through videos on its YouTube channel. So far, so good, right? Well, here's where things take a concerning turn. Within 10-25 seconds of watching these videos, users are directed to download a mobile application to answer review and final questions for credit.

Now, here's where I'm confused. NASBA guidelines emphasize ensuring attendance and engagement, but with YouTube videos, tracking and knowing participant engagement seems nearly impossible. ( ). Now, at first glance, this might not seem like a big deal. But when you dig into the guidelines set by the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA), you realize there's a significant problem here.

NASBA guidelines emphasize the importance of verifying participant engagement and completion in self-study CPE programs. This means ensuring that learners have not just clicked play on a video, but actually absorbed and engaged with the content. This verification typically involves interactive elements, assessments, or monitoring within a controlled learning environment.

The issue with Earmark's approach lies in the lack of mechanisms to ensure participant engagement and completion. YouTube, while a popular platform, lacks the necessary tracking and monitoring features found in dedicated learning management systems. Simply put, there's no reliable way to confirm that participants have truly engaged with the educational content.

So, why hasn't NASBA taken action against Earmark? That's the million-dollar question. Despite clear violations of their own guidelines, it seems like Earmark is operating with impunity. This is disheartening, to say the least.

As professionals committed to upholding the integrity of our field, we cannot stand idly by while standards are being degraded. It's time to raise our voices and demand accountability. NASBA needs to understand the severity of the situation and take decisive action to ensure that CPE sponsors like Earmark adhere to the highest standards of quality and compliance.

Innovation in CPE delivery methods is welcome, but not at the expense of integrity and accountability. Let's come together as a community to uphold the values that define us as professionals. Our voices matter, and it's time to make them heard.


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