ACOE Distance Learning Guidelines

Guidelines for CME providers detailing how ACOE assesses the educational value of Distance Learning material to be accredited for CME

The Accreditation Council of Oncology in Europe will assess Distance Learning CME activities addressed to an international audience and submitted by oncological societies and organisations involved in the research, prevention, epidemiology, treatment care and follow-up of cancer and other credible non-profit educational and professional institutions. ACOE will determine the applicant’s eligibility for accreditation approval.  In order to achieve this, the following standards will be applied to each educational Distance Learning material.


Guideline 1: Statement of intent

The provider should have a written statement of purpose or intent relating to the CME Distance Learning material.  The statement should:

  • Describe the goals of the educational Distance Learning activity
  • Outline the characteristics of the potential users
  • Specify any needs assessment performed prior to developing this Distance Learning material


Guideline 2: Provision of information to prospective users

The provider should ensure that likely users are informed about the content, nature and target group for the Distance Learning CME material.  Within the material, the provider should:

  • State the most important planned learning outcomes
  • Indicate the optimum target group for the educational material
  • State if there is an interactive tool included in the teaching methodology
  • List the members of the editorial board

ACOE believes that interactive CME activities increase the knowledge and problem solving abilities of the users to a much higher extent than pure presentations.


Guideline 3: CME credits

The CME provider must provide the users with an estimate of how long the target group will take to complete the activity.

1 educational hour equals 1 credit (with a minimum of 1 credit per activity).


Guideline 4: Evaluation of the quality of the material

The CME provider must provide users with an evaluation tool. Users must be requested to fill in an evaluation questionnaire in order to assess the quality of the material.


Guideline 5: Self-evaluation instrument

The CME provider must provide users with a self-evaluation instrument aimed at testing the learning outcomes (for example, a multiple choice questionnaire).

The CME provider must give the relevant background information that leads to the correct answer.


Guideline 6: Certificate of participation

The delivery of the certificate of participation can be linked to the completion of the evaluation form as described under guideline 4 and the passing of the passing of the test referred to under guideline 5. The CME provider will define the criteria for getting the certificate.

The CME provider must propose to users a convenient way of obtaining their certificate. A web-based system is recommended for Distance Learning materials.


Guideline 7: In case of Distance Learning CME material

Users must be informed of the minimum hardware/software required to run the programme or the web platform requirements (depending on how the material is presented). A policy on privacy and confidentiality should be in place and needs to be specified in the material.


Guideline 8: Validity of the ACOE accreditation

The accreditation of the material submitted to ACOE is valid for a period of two years from the date of confirmation of accreditation.


Guideline 9: Sponsorship

Educational activities in which industry is involved can only be considered for accreditation by ACOE if the preparation and execution of its educational activities is governed by one of the organisations listed in 1 – 2 below (who will be deemed to be the provider of the activity).  The provider must guarantee that the CME Distance Learning material meets the criteria for quality in the guidelines issued by ACOE. Unrestricted financial support for an educational activity by a commercial organisation does not negatively affect its eligibility for accreditation approval by ACOE providing that there is no single commercial organisation sponsoring more than 50% of the material.

Providers are restricted to:

  1. Societies and organisations involved in the research, prevention, epidemiology, treatment, care and follow-up of cancer.
  2. Other non-profit educational and professional organisations (e.g. those organisations with an educational infrastructure including, Universities, Medical Schools, Teaching Hospitals, health care faculties) and organisations of health professionals.

Guideline 10: Distance Learning CME material generated from a live event

Distance Learning CME material generated from a live event must be the subject of a separate application. However, the same Councillors will be designated to evaluate the quality of the live event and the subsequent Distance Learning material produced.

Credits cannot be accumulated.