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(1) The program should contribute to the professional competence of participants.

(a) The fundamental purpose of continuing education is to increase the practitioners professional competence. A professional person is one characterized as conforming to the technical and ethical standards of his profession. This characterization reflects the expectation that a person holding himself out to perform services of a professional quality needs to be knowledgeable within a broad range of related skills. Thus, the concept of professional competence is to be broadly interpreted. It includes, but is not restricted to, accounting, auditing, taxation, and management advisory services. Accordingly, programs contributing to the development and maintenance of other professional skills also should be recognized as acceptable continuing education programs. Such programs might include, but not be restricted to the areas of communication, ethics, quantitative methods, behavioral sciences, statistics, and practice management.

(2) The stated program objectives should specify the level of the knowledge the participant should have attained or the level of competency he should be able to demonstrate upon completing the program.

(a) Program developers should clearly disclose what level of knowledge and/or skill is expected to be imparted under a particular program. Such levels may be expressed in a variety of ways, all of which should be informative to potential participants. As an illustration, a program may be described as having the objective of imparting technical knowledge at such levels as basic, intermediate, advanced, or overview, which might be defined as follows:

(i) A basic level program teaches fundamental principles or skills to participants having no prior exposure to the subject area;

(ii) An intermediate level program builds on a basic level program in order to relate fundamental principles or skills to practical situations and extend them to a broader range of applications.

(iii) An advanced level program teaches participants to deal with complex situations.

(iv) An overview program enables participants to develop a perspective as to how a subject area relates to the broader aspects of accounting or brings participants up to date on new developments in the subject area.

(3) The education and/or experience prerequisites for the program should be stated.

(a) All programs should clearly identify what prerequisites are necessary for enrollment. If no prerequisite is necessary, a statement to this effect should be made. Prerequisites should be specified in precise language so potential participants can readily ascertain whether they qualify for the program or whether the program is above or below their level of knowledge or skill.

(4) Programs should be developed by individual(s) qualified in the subject matter and in instructional design.

(a) This standard is not intended to require that any individual program developer be both technically competent and competent in instructional design. Its purpose is to ensure that both types of competency are represented in a program's development, whether one or more persons are involved in that development. Mastery of the technical knowledge or skill in instructional design may be demonstrated by appropriate experience or educational credentials.

(b) "Instructional design" is a teaching plan that considers the organization and interaction of the materials as well as the method of presentation such as lecture, seminar, workshop, or programmed instruction.

(5) Program content should be current.

(a) The program developer must review the course materials periodically to assure that they are accurate and consistent with currently accepted standards relating to the program's subject matter. Between these reviews, errata sheets should be issued where appropriate and obsolete materials should be deleted. However, between the time a new pronouncement is issued and the issuance of errata sheets or removal of obsolete materials, the instructor is responsible for informing the participants of changes. If, for example, a new accounting standard is issued, a program will not be considered current unless the ramifications of the new standard have been incorporated into the materials or the instructor appropriately informs the participants of the new standard.

(6) Programs should be reviewed by a qualified person(s) other than the preparer(s) to ensure compliance with the above standards.

(a) In order to ensure that programs meets the standard for program development, they should be reviewed by one or more individuals in the subject area and in the instructional design. Any one reviewer need not be competent in both the program subject matter and in instructional design, but both aspects of a program should be reviewed. However, it may be impractical to review certain programs, such as a short lecture given only once; in these cases, more reliance must be placed on the competence of the presenter.

History: 37-50-201, 37-50-203, MCA; IMP, 37-50-203, 37-50-314, MCA; NEW, 1980 MAR p. 2971, Eff. 11/29/80; TRANS, from Dept. of Prof. & Occup. Lic. , Ch. 274, L. 1981, Eff. 7/1/81; TRANS, from Commerce, 2005 MAR p. 2668.

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