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An AI-Powered Learning Transformation: AICPA & CIMA’s Integrated Learning Ecosystem

The Situation

AICPA & CIMA, the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and Chartered Institute of Management Accountants, worked with GP Strategies® (GP) to deliver learning and assessment services to more than 600,000 members worldwide. In 2020, AICPA & CIMA identified the need to replace its existing learning platform with one that could retain and enhance unique functionality while cutting maintenance costs and allowing it to build, scale, and innovate for the future. The organization wanted to provide an industry-leading user experience. The combined power of GP Strategies’ services and several LTG technology companies made it possible by implementing game-changing AI capabilities.

The Challenge

As AICPA & CIMA’s needs matured, they outgrew their old custom-developed solution and the support it offered. Development costs grew higher and higher to compensate for gaps in support and to provide for the exponential growth in overall complexity AICPA & CIMA needed to continue delivering in their learning and assessment services. As these challenges increased, the organization knew they needed to move toward commercial products that allowed for scalable integration.

As a small team in a highly regulated, high-consequence industry, AICPA & CIMA’s training department sought an off-the-shelf solution that would reduce these costs and host the learning content they provide to their members. The goal was to make their course content more discoverable and to deliver more value for members. However, AICPA & CIMA still had unique requirements concerning their professional certifications and the resale of learning content to customers with their own learning management systems (LMSs).

The Solution

The solution to this significant challenge involved not only the creation of a new learning ecosystem built around the Bridge LMS and Rustici Software’s Content Controller technology, but also substantial implementation support from GP Strategies and AI enablement. A team of experts from GP and other LTG businesses—all well-versed in the technical knowledge required for system implementation—worked backward from the organization’s business and technical requirements to come up with a plan. In collaboration with AICPA & CIMA, GP determined that most of the requirements for the initial phase of the project could be covered by the following two LTG products:

  • The Bridge LMS to handle learning content hosting for the organization’s customers purchasing an all-in-one learning solution.
  • Rustici Content Controller to enforce content licensing when the organization’s customers needed to serve content from their own LMS.

Bridge LMS was critical to reducing friction when accessing training courses, which took more than six clicks on the previous platform. Rustici Content Controller was important to the organization because they previously lacked a robust means to enforce content licensing. GP’s proposal estimated that the new system would reclaim $2.5 million per year in previously lost content licensing revenue.

GP covered the remaining requirements. GP provided a compact but critical amount of custom code to track the organization’s proprietary content and built out most of the custom integration AICPA & CIMA needed in a way that would allow the organization to still take advantage of new product features and updates from Bridge and Rustici without the need for additional custom work. Additionally, GP helped implement the plan, allowing the team to temporarily scale up for the substantial task of migrating from the legacy system, and assisted with all change management and testing aspects.

Since the launch of the learning ecosystem, GP has continued to provide support and innovation to AICPA & CIMA as they unroll and optimize this new program.

Preliminary Outcomes

This ecosystem of industry-leading technologies was first deployed to a subset of learners during the summer of 2022. AICPA & CIMA experienced the following outcomes immediately:

The new learning ecosystem reduced the number of clicks needed to access important content from seven to one. This has removed significant friction for the learner and reduced headaches for the admin team.

AICPA & CIMA has also realized additional value by monetizing personalized, curated learning journeys and branded cohort learning portals.

The new learner dashboard with continuing professional education (CPE) tracking makes it very clear to users what they need to do to stay compliant in their field. Content tagged to specific fields of study and CPE credits have allowed learners to quickly close any required gaps. All of this used to be provided but involved three different systems; now, everything is in
one place.

The ability to quickly search, find, and control the most relevant content has provided increased revenue with better transparency and visibility into the course consumption data. This has also shown AICPA & CIMA members what is working most for them, increasing their desire to continue purchasing more content.

Recent AI-Powered Innovation

An issue emerged as the learning ecosystem was deployed. With the new ecosystem, learners had enhanced searching abilities through the improved organization of AICPA & CIMA’s course content. However, of the 3,000 courses the company provides for its members, only some had adequate and updated metadata that the new ecosystem and search engine could take advantage of.

Instead of manually updating the metadata for every course, GP is utilizing AI to help unlock access to content and personalize the learning experience even further through an AI tool that helps create and update data for all the courses that lack it.

Cleaning and organizing course content and metadata will allow the new tagging system in the learning ecosystem to work optimally. As time goes on, all courses will eventually be optimized in this way using AI.

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