The CEU: The Standard for High-Quality Continuing Education

Information Outlook, December 1997 | Go to article overview

The CEU: The Standard for High-Quality Continuing Education


The Continuing Education Unit (CEU) is an internationally recognized standard of continuing education and training for thousands of corporations, colleges and universities, hospitals and health service organizations, and associations, including SLA. As defined by the International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET), the caretaker of the CEU, one CEU is "ten contact hours of participation in an organized continuing education experience under responsible sponsorship, capable direction, and qualified instruction." While most of SLA's members are aware that we provide CEUs for all of our continuing education offerings, you may not realize the rigorous standards for which the CEU stands.

Since 1970, when the CEU was established, it has represented a mark of quality assurance for learning activities. Organizations interested in providing a systematic process for program development and delivery apply to be certified by IACET. The Special Libraries Association is an "Authorized CEU Sponsor" which means that we are certified to award CEUs, and in turn, agree to adapt ten criteria established by IACET(1). Understanding these ten criteria will give you a better picture of what is involved in the planning of SLA's professional development programs.

Each activity is planned in response to educational needs which have been identified for a target audience. Needs represent a gap between an existing condition and a desired condition. That gap may represent a shortage of knowledge, skills, or attitudes; deficiencies in performance; or the status of a profession in terms of where it is now and where it needs to go (IACET, 1993). SLA utilizes a variety of needs assessment tools including formal surveys, focus groups, discussion with key individuals in the profession, and the study of current literature.

Each activity has clear and concise written statements of intended learning outcomes. Learning outcomes are written statements of what the learner is expected to accomplish as a result of the learning activity. They describe the knowledge, skills, or attitudes you will be able to demonstrate as a result of participating in professional development programs. SLA instructors submit course proposals outlining their intended learning objectives prior to program approval and also either verbally state the learning outcomes at the program or include them in course handouts.

Qualified instructional personnel are involved in planning and conducting each activity. Instructors for the professional development program must not only have proven competence in the subject matter, but have demonstrated an understanding and sufficient repertoire of instructional strategies.

Content and instructional methods are appropriate for the intended learning outcomes of each activity. …

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The CEU: The Standard for High-Quality Continuing Education
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