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Innovating professional digital education—a CPA case study

Key benefits

  • Key enabler of CPA’s digital transformation strategy
  • 40 per cent student take-up of initial pilot
  • Improved exam performance: Quitch users scored higher in their exams, on average, than non-Quitch users
  • More interactive experience on the student learning journey
  • Analytics to modify study content and enhance learning approach 
  • Positions CPA Australia as a learning brand innovator
Answering timed quiz questions about tax strategies via a mobile app on a train after a gym session might seem an unorthodox way of learning, but not according to Jessica Burdett, Education Projects Manager in Member Education at CPA Australia.
Jessica immediately saw an opportunity to enhance the study experience of its members when she came across Quitch, a gamified mobile learning platform that is reinventing the way learners receive and engage with knowledge. 

Enabling digital transformation

CPA members can access a range of learning support resources to progress through their studies including digital simulations, knowledge checks and ask-the-expert forums.

“A key tenet of our digital transformation of the CPA Program is we have a strong belief in innovation and early adoption of tools to improve our learning offer to members,” she said. 

Sitting exams is intensive, and, according to Jessica, members were seeking opportunities to practice so they could perform better during their exams.

“Students were keen to receive feedback on areas of the study guide they were getting wrong or struggling with,” she said. “Also, if we could get real-time intelligence on members’ comprehension throughout the semester, we could look at how to adapt future study content and improve our program pathways.”

Jessica developed a business case for an initial pilot of Quitch for two subjects, Ethics & Governance and Practice Management, for practicing professionals. 

“We wanted to test the whole app theory and see if there was an appetite for mobile learning,” she said. “In particular, we wanted to test both ends of the study continuum; what the take-up would be like among ‘the old guard’ compared to students who are arguably more tech savvy.”

Proof is in the pilot: better exam performance

Following Board sign-off, a 10-week pilot involving 5,000 students was set up whereby multiple choice questions based on content from the study guide were uploaded onto the Quitch educator portal. 

Students then received an email invitation to download the app and start studying. Over the course of the semester members received push notifications as new content and questions were unlocked. 

“We saw Quitch as a more interactive way for members to progress through the knowledge checks,” Jessica said. “We wanted students to think of it as an automated and convenient way to keep their study on track and front of mind throughout the semester”. 

Candidates could also participate in a competitive leader board to see how their knowledge compared to their peers.

The results from the pilot were impressive. 

With a take-up rate of 40 per cent, the pilot showed that on average, candidates who downloaded Quitch scored higher in their exams than those who didn’t

In particular, Quitch users enrolled in Ethics & Governance achieved scores 8.55 per cent higher than non-Quitch users, while those enrolled in Practice Management demonstrated scores 10.11 per cent higher.

Student feedback on the app was also very positive, said Jessica. “Overwhelmingly they loved the convenience of being able to study on the go, in an accessible format, while also having a feedback loop and seeing their progression”.

“Our post-pilot survey revealed 78 per cent of students said the app helped them better understand the content of their subjects, and 88 per cent indicated they would use the app to study for another subject,” she said.

According to Jessica, Quitch’s key value proposition is it is a dedicated mobile learning tool with superior analytics capabilities.

“That’s the beauty of Quitchyou can push content out to students. They don’t have to log onto the LMS (Learning Management System) and go looking for it,” she said.

“Ultimately we wanted to deliver a learning tool that students liked using which would help them succeed. The pilot demonstrated both.”

Analytics to enhance learning approaches

In light of the encouraging results, CPA has expanded the Quitch pilot into semester 2 for all four core subjects in the CPA Program encompassing more than 20,000 students. It will continue to be available to Practice Management candidates.

“For the extended pilot we’ll be looking at deeper analytics around student engagement and performance and how it can inform our intervention strategies and learning pathways.”

“Ultimately project success is based on student engagement and seeing a tangible lift in exam pass rates,” she said. “We can then look at what that means for retention rates and the time it takes to get through the CPA program.”

“The Quitch team has been incredibly responsive and open to our needs,” Jessica said. “They have the flexibility and agility to do things quickly. It’s been a collaborative effort and we’re excited about seeing what the next phase brings.”


ABOUT CPA AUSTRALIA

CPA Australia is one of the world’s largest accounting bodies with a global membership of more than 164,695 members working in 150 countries and regions around the world. Our core services to members include education, training, technical support and advocacy. Internationally recognised, the CPA Program equips members to tackle any accounting, finance or business situations faced in today’s global marketplace.