Jun 12, 2024

In the pursuit of continuing professional education (CPE), many of us are turning to innovative formats such as podcasts. Recently, I came across a CPE sponsor offering podcast-based courses for earning credits. Intrigued by the convenience and flexibility, I decided to give it a try. What I found, however, raised significant concerns about the integrity and effectiveness of such learning methods. 


The Experiment 


To test the system, I selected a podcast course that promised CPE credits upon completion. 

Here’s what I did: 

1. Started the Podcast: I played the podcast, which was 40 minutes long. 

2. Left It Running: Instead of actively listening, I used the time to attend to other tasks. 

3. Assessment: After 40 minutes, I returned to take the required assessment. With a reasonable understanding of the subject matter, I managed to correctly answer 4 out of 5 review questions on my first attempt. 

4. Certificate Issued: Despite my lack of engagement, I received a certificate confirming my completion and credit earned. 


The Issue with No Attendance Verification 
Without mechanisms to ensure active participation and engagement, the value of such CPE programs is questionable. Here are the primary concerns: 


1. Compromised Learning Quality:  
Surface-Level Engagement: The absence of checks allows participants to skim through content without truly engaging. This defeats the purpose of CPE, which aims to enhance professional competence. 
Retention and Application: Passive listening (or non-listening, in this case) leads to poor retention of information. Without active engagement, professionals may struggle to apply new knowledge in practical scenarios. 


2. Integrity of CPE Credits: 

- Questionable Validity: When CPE credits can be earned without genuine participation, the integrity of the credential is compromised. This undermines the trust and value associated with professional development programs. 

- Unfair Advantage: Professionals who genuinely invest time and effort in their learning are placed at a disadvantage compared to those who exploit such loopholes. 

The Importance of Robust Attendance Mechanisms 


For CPE programs to be truly beneficial, robust mechanisms to verify attendance and engagement are essential.  
Here’s what should be implemented: Periodic Checkpoints - Incorporate verification questions or interactive elements throughout the podcast to ensure continuous engagement. 


Conclusion: Is It Good for Professional Growth? 


While the convenience of earning CPE credits through podcasts is appealing, the lack of attendance verification poses significant risks to professional growth and learning. It’s essential for CPE sponsors to implement stringent checks to ensure that credits reflect genuine engagement and knowledge acquisition. 


For professionals, it’s a reminder to choose CPE programs that prioritize quality and integrity over convenience. True professional development comes from a commitment to learning, not just ticking off requirements. 


CPE Reforms User

Thanks for sharing your experiment! It’s eye-opening and makes me reconsider how I choose my CPE courses. Active participation is key to growth.

CPE Reforms User

I couldn't agree more! Earning credits without engagement undermines the entire purpose of CPE. We need stricter standards to maintain the integrity of our profession.

CPE Reforms User

Interesting perspective. I see the convenience of podcast CPE but also understand the need for robust attendance verification. Finding a balance is crucial.

CPE Reforms User

Great post! This really highlights the importance of engagement in professional development. CPE credits should reflect real learning, not just time spent.

CPE Reforms User

I had a similar experience with a webinar! It’s frustrating to see the lack of rigorous checks in some CPE programs. Quality should always come before convenience

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