The applications for IACET initial and reaccreditation require the applicant to upload documents to show compliance to each of the elements in the ANSI/IACET 1-2018 Standard for Continuing Education and Training. The desire for a provider to share with the reviewers all the details regarding their programs can cause the applicant to overlook and disregard the guidance given throughout the applications. In most cases, less is more.
The application provides guidance regarding what exactly to submit for the reviewers. In an effort to streamline the review process the application asks that you show your program in bite-sized pieces. This means that you must be able to divide or structure your documents to show just what is being asked for at each step in the application. In a desire to be comprehensive, some applications end up with far too much material for the accreditation reviewers to be able efficiently navigate. For example, consider taking your policies and processes out of a multipage document and submitting just what is asked for at each element. Simplying what is submitted will allow your reviewers to quickly find what they need and keep the process moving forward.
The best advice that applicants can follow is to make sure that they have some way of editing PDFs that they upload. Many applicants try to get around this by scanning documents and uploading those. The quality of the scanned documents must be carefully controlled as often the reviewers have difficulty reading poor quality scans. Reviewers will send back the application drawing out the application process and extending the time. The PDF editor will allow you to highlight and annotate helping your reviewers hone in on the exact language or other example(s) that you want them to see. This is extremely important especially if you have a document that addresses several of the elements.
Typically most organizations submit a Design Document that shows compliance with elements in Categories 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 9. When submitting the same document over and over in the application (which is perfectly acceptable) it helps the reviewers to have the document edited so that they can easily find those sections that document compliance. Think of it as guiding the reviewers through your facility at the site visit. You wouldn’t just open the door and expect them to find their way. You want to help them as much as you can to find the information they need to review.
It is only after an item is returned to you via the accrediation management system from the reviewers that you have comment boxes in the application. Therefore, if your documentation needs any commentary or explanation, you need to be able to provide it in the document. There are many ways to add text to a pdf, but the easiest for the reviewers and perhaps for the applicants too is use an editing tool. This tool can also allow you to draw a circle or box around sections of the document that can help speed up the time it takes for the reviewers to find the information on a screen shot or course design document.