In this criteria review, we discuss the ANCC's educational design process 2, which further discusses why the professional practice gap exists.

ANCC Accreditation Criteria Review: Educational Design Process 2 (EDP2)

Whether you are an accredited provider such as i3 Health or you are an educational partner working with an accredited provider, it’s still important to understand the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) criteria that underlie nursing continuing professional development (NCPD) activities. This is part of a periodic series of posts looking at what each criterion means in general and what it might mean for you.

The third set of ANCC accreditation criteria focus on the educational design process (EDP) of the activities within an NCPD program. Educational design includes the planning, design, assessment, and evaluation of each activity. There are seven (7) criteria within this section.

Criterion EDP2 states:

How the Accredited Provider Program Director identifies the underlying educational needs (knowledge, skills, and/or practices) that contribute to the professional practice gap(s)

Criterion EDP1 asks what the professional practice gap is. Criterion EDP2 expands on that to ask why that gap exists. We can talk about health disparities as much as we want, but in order to address them through education, we need to identify specific changes that should be made.

This could be information that is lacking. Learners may not know that a new treatment or diagnostic tool exists, and that’s why they aren’t using it.

This could be a lack of skills. Learners know about a procedure, but they’ve never been taught how to do it.

This could be a lack of putting their knowledge and skills into practice. They know about the recommended treatment, they know when it is recommended for use, but they are simply opting for something else.

In order to design an educational activity to address a practice gap, we need to understand which of these things is underlying the gap. Educational needs are the small pieces that, as their name implies, can be addressed through a learning activity.

To meet this criterion, an NCPD program must show how the Nurse Planner(s) identify the root causes of the professional practice gap and how the subsequent educational activity addresses those causes. A key thing to be aware of is that educational needs should be something that can be assessed or evaluated.

That process is, of course, what the next criterion in this section covers, so we will leave that step for the next post in this series.

Other Posts in This Series

Educational Design Process 1 (EDP1)


ACCME (2022). Standards for Integrity and Independence in Accredited Continuing Education. Available at: 

ANCC (2021). Writing to the ANCC NCPD Accreditation Criteria Self-Learning Guide. Available at:

ANCC (2021). ANCC NCPD Accredited Provider Applicant Journey Guide. Available at:

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