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  • Writer's pictureKristin Dispenza

New rules are in effect for AIA continuing education providers

If your company is an AIA Continuing Education Provider, 2020 has ushered in some updates you need to know about.

Many product manufacturers and other companies/organizations benefit from developing courses in their area of expertise and having those courses qualified by the AIA to provide continuing education credits to architects. On-demand courses, typically hosted on the web, are particularly popular.

As of January 1, 2019, the AIA published a new resource for education providers. Titled “Standards for Continuing Education Programs,” the document replaces the prior “CES Provider Manual.” New requirements for determining LUs for on-demand programs (specified in Standard 19 of the document) were introduced and may impact the amount of time and effort it takes companies to produce their educational courses.

While the new standards have been in effect for more than a year, the AIA worked with authors/course developers throughout 2019 to come into compliance. New courses in 2020, along with courses currently coming to the end of their three-year approval period, must be in full compliance with the new standards.

Making Sure Your Course Qualifies for LUs

The AIA requires on-demand learning activities “be based on educationally sound and defensible methods,” and uses an auditing process to make sure its requirements are being met. Authors/course developers must use one of the following methods to ensure they are in compliance:

Method 1: Pilot test of the representative completion time. This method uses a sample of intended professional participants to complete the course in a manner similar to the one in which the program is to be presented. Individuals are timed and their completion times are averaged to determine the LUs awarded. While course providers recommend the number of LUs based on the representative completion time for the sample, if, after the program has been approved, actual learner completion time differs from the test results, re-pilot testing may be required.

Method 2: Computation using the prescribed word count formula. The text of on-demand presentations (excluding instructions, glossaries, review questions, appendices and more) is analyzed according to a formula. According to the “Standards for Continuing Education Programs,”

The word count for the text of the required reading of the program is divided by 180, the average reading speed of adults in words per minute. The total number of review questions, exercises, and summative assessment questions is multiplied by 1.85, which is the estimated average completion time per question in minutes. These two numbers plus actual audio/ video duration time (not narration of the text), if any, are then added together and the result divided by 50 to calculate the LUs to be awarded:

[(# of words/180) + actual audio/video duration time + (# of questions × 1.85)] /50 = LUs awarded

In an example provided by the AIA, a typical formula might be:

Article with 5,710 words and a 10-question summative assessment. 5,710/180 + (10 x 1.85) = 50.2 50.2/50 = 1.0 LUs

The above example, with its estimate of 5,710 words, gives a good ballpark of the length of written material an author/course developer should provide.

Continuing Education: A Win-Win for Architects and Industry Reps

Developing an AIA-approved continuing education course remains an excellent way for industry experts to share knowledge and product details, including case studies and performance specifications. AOE is happy to work with your organization to create such a course—all 5700+ words of it! Contact AOE today to learn more about developing educational materials for architects and specifiers.



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