Recertification Q&A: Virtual Learning vs. E-Learning

Answers to frequently asked questions about maintaining your credential

By the SHRM Certification Team April 25, 2019

Have questions about recertifying your SHRM-CP or SHRM-SCP? In every issue, the SHRM Certification team will answer some of the questions credential-holders often ask.

Q:  What kinds of educational activities can I do that will qualify for professional development credits (PDCs)?

A:  The "Advance Your Education" recertification category includes all educational activities, both instructor-led and self-paced. The latter includes webcasts, videoconferences, e-learning, and books. You can earn all 60 of your PDCs in this category if you so choose.  Please refer to the SHRM Recertification Requirements Handbook for more information.



Q: How does self-paced e-learning differ from virtual learning?

A:  A virtual learning program is taught by a live instructor and involves real-time interaction and engagement with the instructor and other participants. In contrast, self-paced e-learning is participant self-directed learning independent of interaction with an instructor or other participants. For example, watching a prerecorded program (even if recorded live) is not considered virtual learning, because it does not meet the requirement for real-time interaction and engagement with the instructor and participants. Instead it is considered a self-paced educational activity. Consult the SHRM Recertification Requirements Handbook for details.



Q: I know that after I earn a minimum of one hour of eligible educational activity, PDCs are calculated in 15-minute increments. How are activities calculated for other fractions of time (for example, a class that was 1 hour and 20 minutes long)?

A:  The time is rounded up or down as appropriate. So, a program that lasts 1 hour and 5 minutes will be awarded 1 PDC; a program that lasts 1 hour and 20 minutes will be awarded 1.25 PDCs; a program that lasts 1 hour and 25 minutes will be awarded 1.5 PDCs; and so on.


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Want to learn more about how to maintain your SHRM certification? To attend one of our free online events and gain access to SHRM recertification counselors, visit


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