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ANCC Accreditation with Distinction Criteria Review: Educational Design Capacity 2a

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 second set of Accredited Provider Distinction Criteria build on the standard Educational Design Process criteria. There are five criteria within this group, and at least two must be met for a provider to achieve "Distinction." This set allows the most flexibility for an accredited provider to select criteria to me.

The first criterion in this section (2a) states:

Evidence demonstrates a process description and example that the Provider Unit uses quality improvement strategies to identify professional practice gaps or opportunities for improvement (root cause analysis, Six Sigma, or similar) and/or consistently uses a multimodal approach to identify and validate professional practice gaps or opportunities for improvement (focus groups of potential learners, collaboration with stakeholders, or similar).

In the standard EDP1 criterion, providers are asked to identify practice gaps. There are no specific requirements on how a practice gap is identified. A best practice in identifying practice gaps is to use the same strategies used in quality improvement initiatives. That is what this criterion asks for.

There is still flexibility. Perhaps you work with your quality department to do a root cause analysis and then use that to design educational activities. Perhaps you hold a focus group to discuss practice gaps and determine their validity.

To meet this criterion, you should be able to describe your process for using a broad approach to identify practice gaps. At the activity level, only one example is required. But if you're able to start using this process for one activity, you should be able to implement it for more than one activity.

Depending on how you identify practice gaps, it's possible you're already following the requirements described in this criterion. You may find you only need to add a bit of documentation, and then you only need to pick two more criterion for the Educational Design Capacity section to be ready to for "Distinction".

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)

Educational Design Process 1 (EDP1)

Educational Design Process 2 (EDP2)

Educational Design Process 3 (EDP3)

Educational Design Process 4 (EDP4)

Educational Design Process 5 (EDP5)

Educational Design Process 6 (EDP6)

Educational Design Process 7 (EDP7)

Quality Outcomes 1 (QO1)

Quality Outcomes 2a (QO2a)

Quality Outcomes 2b (QO2b)

Quality Outcomes 3a (QO3a)

Quality Outcomes 3b (QO3b)

ANCC Accreditation with Distinction Criteria Overview

Accreditation with Distinction: Structural Capacity 1a

Accreditation with Distinction: Structural Capacity 1b

Accreditation with Distinction: Structural Capacity 1c


ACCME (2022). Standards for Integrity and Independence in Accredited Continuing Education. Available at:

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

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ANCC Accreditation with Distinction Criteria Revie...
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