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Implementing the Future of Learning Recommendations

In May 2014, the AICPA’s Future of Learning Task Force announced four broad recommendations to positively impact the future of learning for the CPA profession. The recommendations are:

  1. Innovate and experiment
  2. Ignite a passion for learning
  3. Make learning personal
  4. Measure what matters

These recommendations and insights, as well as other resources related to the initiative, are now available on the new Future of Learning site. If you haven’t yet visited the site, I highly recommend you do so to gain insight into the drivers behind the initiative and its recommendations. Navigating the site will take you on a journey that explores change within business, the evolving workplace and shifts in the CPA profession. You’ll gain a better understanding of trends impacting learning, ranging from how technology is rapidly changing delivery options to the impact of Millennial expectations on learning and the workplace.

In this four-part blog series, we’ll go in depth and look at each of the task force recommendations, as well as ways you can begin to implement them.

Recommendation: Innovate and Experiment

The beauty of innovation is that it provides unlimited opportunities for how and what to pursue. Better yet, innovations can be large or small. When our AICPA Member Learning and Competency team thinks about innovations in learning, we are thrilled by the possibilities.

An excellent way to begin is to make incremental changes to instruction away from lecture based and toward more interactive experiences. This shift from input-based to output-based learning not only increases student engagement, it also enhances competency development. Changes might include:

  • Flip the classroom—Provide pre-read materials to students so that classroom time can be spent on applying concepts.
  • Share the stage—Rather than a classroom experience being a monologue, allow others to tell the story or demonstrate a point through video, learners sharing experiences and other means.
  • Embrace the case study—Storytelling and problem solving can be entertaining and experiential.

Output-based-learningHowever, be strategic. Ensure that your innovation fits the learning at hand—and the audience. A minor standards update might be best delivered by a quick, straightforward presentation or podcast, while learners may benefit most by diving into case studies to digest the recent changes to the revenue recognition standards.

You can’t think about innovation without considering technology. Driving change that leverages technology can, but doesn’t need to be, expensive. Consider the following:

  • Technology changes rapidly, so start small, be agile and take an incremental approach.
  • Learn from and experiment with free online resources, such as Khan Academy.
  • Instead of building your own learning platforms, take advantage of existing software.
  • Seek out technology that lets you measure student progress.
  • Go to Future of Learning  and read more about state-of-the-art technology you can leverage—like just-in-time learning, game mechanics and nano-learning.

Dive in. When it comes to professional development, CPAs are not only receptive to change—they’re asking for it.

Next Time: Ignite a Passion for Learning
In my next blog, I’ll go discuss the recommendation to ignite a passion for learning. This recommendation focuses on how to create meaningful, purposeful experiences that motivate and engage learners. In the meantime, I invite you to go to Future of Learning to explore and learn more!

Clar Rosso, Vice President of Member Learning and Competency, American Institute of CPAs. 

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