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ANCC Accreditation Criteria Review: Educational Design Process 1 (EDP1)

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. It also requires the program to meet the Standards for Integrity and Independence in Accredited Continuing Education (which have been covered in an earlier series within this blog). The seven (7) criteria within this section walk through the process of planning, implementing, and evaluating an NCPD activity.

Criterion EDP1 states:

The process used to identify a problem in practice or an opportunity for improvement (professional practice gap)

The first step in the planning process is determining what needs to be taught. In order for an NCPD program to provide relevant education to its learners, it should focus on some sort of professional practice gap. We frequently think of this step as answering the question "Why is this activity needed?"

To meet this criteria, an NCPD program needs to describe what sources are used to identify a problem and how a Nurse Planner or the Accredited Provider Program Director uses the information within those sources to determine that a practice gap exists.

When writing a self-study, it is important to remember that this is all that this criterion asks about. It's not necessary to go into details on the implementation or evaluation of the activities that are created after a practice gap is identified. There are separate criteria to cover these steps. If you are responsible for writing your program's self-study, remind yourself that there are seven criteria in this section, so focus only on what each specific criterion asks.

Criterion EDP1 is all about the Why. Why are you doing this? Why is this specific activity necessary? Once you are able to explain your process for answering that question, take a break, and then move on to the next criterion, which will be covered in the next post in this series.

Other Posts in This Series

ANCC Accreditation Criteria Overview

Organizational Overview 1 (OO1)

Organizational Overview 2 (OO2)

Structural Capacity 1 (SC1)

Structural Capacity 2 (SC2)

Structural Capacity 3 (SC3)


ANCC (2021). Writing to the ANCC NCPD Accreditation Criteria Self-Learning Guide. Available at:

ANCC (2021). ANCC NCPD Accredited Provider Applicant Journey Guide. Available at:

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