CEA Tutorial Section 10: Registering Courses That Are Individual Learning Experiences: Self-Study and Independent Study

Previous sections discussed general procedures for registering and reporting on courses offered for ASHA CEUs. Here, we briefly review two types of courses that are categorized as "individual learning experiences": self-study and independent study. These courses have some special requirements that are detailed either in the text below or in the resources and URLs provided. In addition, there are some closing comments with some important reminders and an opportunity to rate the tutorial.

What is a self-study?

A self-study is a course designed by the Provider that allows participants to learn at their own pace. The content is the same for all learners. The self-study delivery method can take many forms (i.e., CD-ROM, written material, online course, DVD, audiotape, journal). Participants work individually and usually do not interact with an instructor or with other participants. Please note that the following additional information is required for self-study courses:

  • Self-Study Product Information: you will be asked to describe the technology used to present the self-study content, activities involved, and how participants can access the content when you register the self-study.
  • Pilot Study: If applicable, conduct a pilot study to determine the ASHA CEU amount for a course, or a portion of a course, that is offered outside the traditional instructor-led classroom when the completion time varies from one learner to another. In other words, conduct a pilot study if ASHA CEUs are not based on seat time, viewing time, or listening time.

Registered self-studies are valid for a 36 month period. After 36 months, the course needs to be re-registered under a different course number but referencing the previous course on the registration form. Re-registration requires submittal of full registration materials with all required attachments.

How do I conduct a pilot study?

  • Choose at least 10 participants from the course's target audience.
  • Design a participant time log for pilot participants to track, in minutes, how long they spend on each component of the course.
  • Provide each of these 10 pilot participants with a complete copy of any pertinent materials, including the course product, instructions, participant time log, learning assessment, and program evaluation.
  • Explain the purpose of the pilot study to the participants: to establish the typical time it takes a learner to complete the course.
  • Establish a date by which participants must submit their time logs to you.

Are there special instructions if the self-study is a periodical?

Yes; please note the following:

  • Pilot a typical issue of the newsletter or journal you are registering for ASHA CEUs. It must be similar in content, format, and instructional level to the issues you will register in the future. It can be the upcoming issue or one that is up to 12 months old.
  • Choose at least 10 participants from the newsletter's or journal's target audience who are reading the publication for the first time.
  • Create and distribute a participant time log, as described above. Newsletter and journal pilot studies usually track reading time, learning assessment, and program evaluation.

How do I register a self-study course?

Individual course registrations differ from group course registrations; please note the following:

  • Course is valid for 36 months from the first offering. You can report monthly or quarterly, but you cannot wait until the end of the year to do all of your reporting. Offering dates may not overlap calendar years—for example, end one offering on December 31, 2018, and start your next offering on January 1, 2019.
  • May require a Pilot Study. Use the Online Course Registration System to submit all of the usual registration forms and the Pilot Study Report Form [DOC] (if needed).

A self-study is a course designed by the Provider that allows participants to learn at their own pace. The content is the same for all learners. The self-study delivery method can take many forms (i.e., CD-ROM, written material, online course, videotape, audiotape, journal). Participants work individually and do not usually interact with an instructor or other participants. Please note the following about self-study courses:

  • Pilot Study: If the ASHA CEU amount is not based on the actual run time of the self-study product, then a pilot study of at least 10 participants is required to determine the ASHA CEU amount (see Resource box above for Pilot Study orientation, forms and instructions).
  • Course Registration: Self-study registrations must be received at ASHA CE at least 15 days prior to your planned start date. Include all the usual registration forms and attachments, and the pilot study report (if needed). 

Contact your provider manager for further assistance.

What is an independent study?

An independent study (IS) is an educational experience designed by the participating learner to enhance skills and knowledge in an area relevant to communication sciences and disorders. It provides an opportunity for the participant to design individualized learning experiences to meet specific learning needs. Participants may earn up to a maximum of 2.0 ASHA continuing education units (CEUs) for a single IS course. Multiple IS courses can be developed from the same learning activity, provided that the learning outcomes and the acquisition of new skills and knowledge are different for each IS course.

The IS activity is proposed by the participant and is reviewed, monitored, and approved by the Continuing Education Administrator (CEA). ASHA requires that the participant and CEA complete the Independent Study (IS) Participant Worksheet [PDF] prior to the start of the IS course. The participant keeps the worksheet as a study guide. The CEA should work closely with the individual to ensure that the experience will meet all Continuing Education Board (CEB) requirements.

After the IS course is completed, the CEA and participant should meet again so that the participant can provide proof of satisfactory course completion, as previously agreed upon in the IS Participant Worksheet.

Within 45 days of completion of the IS course, the CEA should submit the IS course to ASHA through the Online Course and Offering Registration System. Remember include the IS time log [PDF] or any other documentation that is required to complete the coursework.

There is a separate online orientation to answer questions about the IS process. Here are resource links for both the Independent Study Participant Worksheet [PDF] and the Independent Study Orientation.

Can all ASHA Approved CE Providers oversee independent studies?

ASHA Approved CE Providers must be approved by ASHA Continuing Education (ASHA CE) to offer independent study courses. When your organization initially applied to become a Provider, there was an option in that same application to apply for the "Independent Study" designation.  

To check on your IS status, go to Find ASHA Approved CE Providers on the main ASHA Continuing Education (CE) webpage. Independent Study Providers are listed separately in alphabetical order. Additionally, they are also identified by an orange "Independent Study" tag in the Providers By State listing. If your organization does not currently have this designation, and you would like to offer this option, contact your Provider Manager for application procedures. There is no additional fee.

Closing Comments

Thank you for participating in this tutorial. Feel free to review any section as needed. This tutorial does not cover every policy and procedure contained in the CEB Manual, so be sure to read all sections of the manual. For further assistance with any of the topics mentioned in the tutorial or the CEB Manual, please contact your provider manager.

We appreciate your commitment to provide quality continuing education for speech-language pathologists and audiologists. We look forward to working with you.


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