Who is this for?

RCS E-learning standards

Whether you are associated with us or interested in our approach to learning design you are welcome to use our e-learning standards and checklist. We have adapted the UCL e-learning baseline (CC) to our surgical context and, in turn, are proud to share our standards with the wider learning design community under the same creative commons licence.


The RCS e-learning standards bring together best practice from a variety of fields. They are designed to guide quality assurance and improvement activities of RCS online courses, in order to ensure a high quality participant experience.

The e-learning standards consists of nine categories, followed by key criteria applicable to all RCS online courses. It also provides clarifications and practical examples that will be useful to everyone involved in the design and development of our online offer. The nine categories are:

  1. Structure
  2. Orientation
  3. Communication
  4. Assessment
  5. Resources
  1. Cross-platform compatibility
  2. Accessibility
  3. Legal
  4. Quality assurance

In addition, the checklist provides an easy method of reviewing and assessing a course’s adherence to the standards.

Benefits of use

The standards and checklist aim to ensure consistency and improve the quality of the e-learning experience within a rapidly changing technological environment. Key benefits include:

  • helping to articulate e-learning provision during a course development and encouraging course enhancement using the clarifications and examples;
  • assisting in the review and quality assurance of e-learning in a systematic way, bench-marking provision and highlighting and addressing gaps as appropriate;
  • providing standards and a checklist to guide and measure implementation of best practice over time;
  • encouraging consistency across courses and consideration of e-learning best practice.


The e-learning offer across our courses varies, depending on the stage they are at in development. Consequently, not all aspects of the standards will be relevant to all courses. However, we would expect a newly developed or redeveloped course to meet most of the key criteria in these nine categories. Where that is not possible, a note on the checklist should explain why an area has not been met or is not relevant.


RCS contributors

  • Elise Omfalos, Educator
  • Deborah Fowler, Quality Manager
  • Michael Ford, Learning Technologist


Please feel free to contact us at education@rcseng.ac.uk if you would like further information or to give us any feedback.

Please check the public site for further details about RCS courses.


Creative Commons LicenceThe RCS e-learning standards (2019) are based on the UCL E-Learning Baseline and are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Category: Learning design