In this ANCC accreditation criteria review, we discuss criterion EDP5, which focuses on ensuring that content is valid.

ANCC Accreditation Criteria Review: Educational Design Process 5 (EDP5)

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. The fifth criterion overlaps with a topic that has been covered separately: The Standards for Integrity and Independence in Accredited Continuing Education (Standards).

Criterion EDP5 states:

How the content of the educational activity is developed based on best available current evidence (e.g., clinical guidelines, peer-reviewed journals, experts in the field) to foster achievement of desired outcomes.

Standard 1 requires accredited continuing education programs to ensure that content is valid. EDP5 is the ANCC’s criterion that aligns with this Standard.

While it is important that education be relevant to learners by addressing a practice gap and underlying educational needs, it is equally important that the educational content be up to date. While the ANCC doesn’t mandate a certain time frame (e.g., three years), most programs typically consider information to be outdated after around five years. Obviously, there are seminal works that have longevity, but a good rule of thumb is that current evidence should have been published less than ten years ago.

There is also no specific requirement for how a program determines content validity. A program could require all materials to be looked at by an independent content reviewer. Another option is to have a standard process in which the provider unit reviews all materials and only sends materials for independent review if there is concern about bias or feels that source material may be outdated and needs the assistance of an expert to ensure that the content is valid and that all of the Standards are met. While requiring all materials to go through an independent review process may ideal, it does increase the amount of time it takes to plan an activity. As we have all learned while planning education during the COVID-19 pandemic, sometimes we need to create education quickly. Having an alternative process makes it easier to rapidly create relevant education.

As with many criteria, the key to meeting EDP5 is to have a process in place and to be able to show that the program is following that process. If you are working jointly with an accredited provider such as i3 Health, you will want to make sure you know your accredited provider’s process because it will affect your planning timeline and what resources and evidence you use.

We want our education to be relevant and to provide the best possible information, skills, and strategies to our learners. By meeting this criterion, that is exactly what our activities do.

Other Posts in This Series

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