What is an Independent Study?

It is an educational experience to enhance your skills and knowledge in an area relevant to the field of communication sciences and disorders.

You develop an educational plan, fill out an Independent Study Participant Worksheet [PDF] and submit it to an ASHA Approved Independent Study Provider who is responsible for reviewing, monitoring, and registering your plan with ASHA CE. You must be eligible to earn ASHA CEUs. 

Independent study (IS) plans could include the following educational experiences: course design/instruction, research/publication or literature review. There are many types of independent study. However, all independent study activities must adhere to the same ASHA Continuing Education Board principles for developing professional courses.

Namely, the learner should:

  • Base his/her learning activity on an identified need (e.g., I need to perform a fiberoptic endoscopic evaluation of swallowing [FEES] at my job and don't know how to do one).
  • Develop individualized learning outcomes (e.g., As a result of my independent study activity, I will be able to identify the instrumentation necessary to perform a FEES, list the risk factors involved in conducting a FEES, assess a patient's candidacy for use of FEES as a diagnostic tool, and perform a FEES with 100% accuracy).
  • Have a mechanism to determine satisfactory completion of the learning activity (i.e. demonstration of new skill, tests, activity logs, certificate of completion.)
  • Evaluate the program upon completion (e.g., what would you do differently? what would you repeat?)

Independent study plans are limited to twenty hours or 2.0 ASHA CEUs per plan. However, ASHA Independent Study Providers can file an unlimited number of IS plans with the ASHA CE Registry on a learner's behalf. For example, your IS plan involves both research for and development of a new graduate level course and the time devoted to completing this plan exceeds 20 hours. In order to get full credit, you could split the learning activities into two or more IS plans.

Learn the Steps for Developing/Filing an Independent Study Plan.

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