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Accreditation -- Standard 2 Curriculum -- Learning Objectives

SMART objectives

Candice Rettie, PhD 0 1330

Sometimes real life intersects with educational theory.  That happened when I was baking cookies and thinking about learning objectives.  Learning objectives and recipes serve similar functions -- assuring consistency of outcomes.

The University of Colorado-Denver wrote the following about learning objectives in their faculty resource reference: “The philosopher Seneca once said, ‘If one does not know to which port one is sailing, no wind is favorable.’ When you know where you are headed, you can more easily get there. Well-defined and articulated learning objectives are important because they:

  • provide students with a clear purpose to focus their learning efforts
  • direct your choice of instructional activities
  • guide your assessment strategies”

Writing SMART (specific, measurable, actionable, relevant and time-bound) objectives informs trainees and instructors about what they need to do to be successful. 

Musings -- Accreditation Provides Common Ground

Fairness, Objectivity, Veracity and Mutual Respect

Candice Rettie, PhD 0 1003

Current events continue to offer haunting stories of violence and destruction. Nevertheless, in the midst of tragedy, there continue to be acts of kindness, generosity, and mutual respect. What are the lessons to be learned that can make a real difference, now and in the future? What does it take to “keep calm and carry on”? Concepts that came to mind were fairness, openness, objectivity, veracity, and mutual respect.

As an accreditation agency, our goal is to have a cohesive accreditation process that exemplifies the concepts above.  

Musings -- Rainbows, July 4th, and Accreditation

Multiple perspectives yet a single perception

Candice Rettie, PhD 0 913
Rainbows are a gentle version of nature's fireworks. The colors of prisms arcing over the sky. It turns out that rainbows are always, and only, visible when observed from a position of 42 degrees from the direction opposite the light source.  Two people looking at the same colored arc from different positions will actually see different rainbows.  Finally, rainbows actually occur in the atmosphere as full circles. Accreditation has similar characteristics -- multiple perspectives of a single entity, constancy yet fluidity. Accreditation fosters a full cycle of review, affirmation and change.

Accreditation -- Standard 2 Curriculum cont'd

Curriculum Design -- Design backwards; Deliver forward

Candice Rettie, PhD 0 1173

This will wrap up our discussion of the concept of curriculum.  Future blogs will address objectives within the curriculum and how to crosswalk these concepts with the unique identity of your training program. Then we will move on to the subsequent Standards.

Let’s briefly review what we’ve covered so far: 

  • The curriculum is the map or guide for all activities that ‘touch’ the trainee.
  • The curriculum presents the ‘big ideas’ and main concepts to all those involved with delivering the experiential learning to the trainee.
  • The curriculum specifies the domains of learning, the competencies and the objectives.
  • The curriculum includes the how, what, where and when of the training program.
  • The curriculum integrates evaluation and assessment into the delivery of training, and uses the feedback from the formative and summative assessment/evaluation to make adjustments to the program.

Now turning our attention to how to design curricula -- the outcome drives the design. Design backwards; deliver forwards. Creating a compelling learning environment that is anchored in a meaningful curriculum is not easy – but the rewards are well worth the effort.  We are literally creating fertile ground for the growth and development of our next generation of leaders in healthcare.

Accreditation -- Standard 2 Curriculum

Translating the Standards into Practice

Candice Rettie, PhD 0 1215

We will spend several weeks exploring Standard 2: Curriculum – Program Curriculum and Structure.  This week we will focus on the definition and role of curriculum.  Next we will address how to design an effective curriculum.  After that we will explore how to crosswalk programmatic curriculum with the Standards.


I love this quote from Mahatma Gandhi: “Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.” NP postgraduate training programs provide a ‘capstone’ experiential learning process that launches a fully credentialed NP into a lifetime of professional excellence. Curriculum provide the foundation for delivering a capstone postgraduate training experience. But -- What is a curriculum?  What does it look like?  Does it need to be written down?  Does it need to be a formal document?  How is it developed?