CPA CPE Webinars: Group Internet-Based vs. Self-Study/On-Demand
Continuing professional education (CPE) providers typically offer two presentation options when it comes to online webinars: Group Internet-Based Programs and Self-Study/On-Demand Webcasts. The primary difference between the two is whether there a live facilitator who can interact with participants and answer questions real-time. While both can qualify for credit, participants have different responsibilities when it comes to obtaining credit for the different types of CPA CPE webinars.
What to Expect from Group Internet-Based Programs
Group internet-based programs are live, scheduled events that are broadcast over the web. Though you join as an individual from any convenient location, you have the opportunity to enjoy discussions and participate in question and answer periods with other participants who are logged in. While formats can vary, one of the most common is a PowerPoint-style presentation coupled with a conferencing platform that permits participants to type private questions to the facilitator.
Obtaining credit for participation in a group internet-based program requires more than simply logging into the presentation and listening to portions while multi-tasking. Webinars are specifically designed to verify that individual participants are present throughout the webinar. The most common method of ensuring that students are engaged in the program is a series of quizzes, which are scattered at intervals over the course of the program. CPE credits are awarded to individuals who answer at least 75 percent of the questions.
Popular CPA CPE webinars are often recorded for future rebroadcast. The follow-up presentations are scheduled, and a qualified facilitator is present to answer questions. When recordings are offered on-demand and participants do not have access to a live facilitator, the course is no longer considered under the Group Internet-Based Category. Instead, the credits you earn fall into the category of self-study.
What to Expect from Self-Study/On-Demand Webcasts
It can be challenging to fit live webinars into busy schedules, so many CPAs elect the on-demand option. This allows you to view pre-recorded group internet-based programs at your leisure. However, because there is no live facilitator available to answer questions, the credits you earn fall into the self-study category. Participants are only awarded credit if they can demonstrate their learning, so you can expect an evaluation of some sort at the end of the program. The most common evaluation method is an exam on the material covered in the presentation.
CPA CPE webinar providers must meet the strict NASBA and AICPA standards for webcasts. Each program must be developed by a subject matter expert, offer defined learning objectives and guide the participant through a program of learning. Group internet-based webcasts must include elements of engagement, while self-study webinars must include a method of demonstrating each participant’s completion of the entire program.
Surgent is a leading CPA CPE webinar provider, offering more than 1,200 live CPE webinars every year. In addition, Surgent has hundreds of on-demand webcasts available for anytime/anywhere learning.