CME Content Development

Hand holding a pen going to write in a notebook

What We Require in Your Content Development Process

In creating a CME educational activity, we encourage you to reach out to our office for any support or guidance you may need. However, we do require that all CME activities must meet the minimum requirements of:

  • Be designed to make change in the are of competence; performance; or patient outcomes
  • Address professional practice gaps of physicians. The practice gap is defined as the difference between current and best practice.
  • Use needs assessment data to plan the activity and can document the source of the needs assessment data.
  • Have content that matches the intended learners’ current or potential scope of practice is developed in the context of desirable physician attributes; and is delivered using educational formats appropriate for the setting, objectives and desired results of the activity.
  • Be in compliance with the ACCME’s Standards of Integrity and Independence.
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of the learning intervention in meeting the objectives.

ACCME CE Educator’s Toolkit

The CE Educator’s Toolkit is a resource designed to equip educators with best practices and guidelines to deliver effective continuing education (CE). The toolkit was developed by the Society for Academic Continuing Medical Education (SACME) through an ACCME research grant in fulfillment of ACCME’s strategic goal to advocate for research and scholarship in continuing education.  This toolkit may be used, distributed, or presented for non-promotional educational purposes with attribution. Contact with questions. Following a review of academic literature and discussions with experts in CME, the following education interventions were identified and explored in the toolkit:

  • Small-group learning: Promotes self-esteem and participation, introduces the learner to a range of perspectives and feedback, and supports the development of social, communication, and leadership skills.
  • Case-based learning: Fosters critical thinking through the use of real-world scenarios and promotes collaboration and interprofessional learning through inquiry-based approaches.
  • Reflective learning: Supports self-awareness, facilitates lifelong learning, and identifies individual learning gaps and areas for improvement.

The toolkit also offers mini-case scenarios, guiding questions, and evaluation tools for tracking your learners’ progress. Additional resources on how to leverage the toolkit will be available in the coming months. This toolkit may be used, distributed, or presented for non-promotional educational purposes with attribution.

To download the CE Educator’s Toolkit, please visit the ACCME website.

Writing Effective Learning Objectives

Learning Objectives

Before writing objectives, it may be helpful to ask a few questions of the players involved:

  • Your CME Planning Committee: What course of action or outcome or change is indicated by the needs assessment?
  • Your Intended Audience: What would you like to take away from this presentation? What do you need that will enhance your practice?
  • Your Proposed Faculty: What information can you share to enhance the intended audience’s understanding and competency?

Resource for Writing Effective Learning Objectives:

Needs Assessment Data

Needs assessment is a systematic process for determining and addressing needs, or “gaps” between current conditions and desired conditions or “wants”. The discrepancy between the current condition and wanted condition must be measured to appropriately identify the need. The need can be a desire to improve current performance or to correct a deficiency.

A needs assessment is an important part of the planning process, often used for improvement in individuals, education/training, organizations, or communities… It can be an effective tool to clarify problems and identify appropriate interventions or solutions… Gathering appropriate and sufficient data informs the process of developing an effective program that will address the target audiences needs and wants.

Needs assessment data, whether obtained by conducting a survey, developing a matrix, or researching electronic resources, etc., will provide planners with an insight into the underlying gaps in professional practice.

A needs assessment can assist in:

  • Identifying the educational needs, professional practice gaps, and or barriers to care of your target audience,
  • Sharpening a program’s priority-based strategic improvement plan, and
  • Refining learning objectives that are specific to the goals of an activity.

Speaker’s Content Slides

  • Presentations must not use logos or trademarks, although factual references to companies, products and services in generic font are permitted; however, educational materials that are part of a continuing medical education activity cannot contain any advertising, trade names or product group messages.
  • Presentations shall not use the names, images, biographies, or other recognizable features of patients without prior express written permission. (Data or materials that are
    ‘anonymized’ or otherwise modified to prevent recognition of individuals are permitted.)

Additional Information for Content Selection and Peer Review

Types of Educational Activity Formats

The ACCME learning formats offered.

  • Live Course
  • Regularly Scheduled Series
  • Enduring Material
  • Journal CME/CE
  • Manuscript Review
  • Test-Item Writing
  • Committee Learning
  • Performance Quality Improvement
  • Internet Searching and Learning
  • Learning from Teaching
  • Other/Blended Learning

Additional Guidelines for Online or Virtual Formats