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Case Study: The RCS post-workshop strategy at The Royal College of Surgeons of England


Institution: The Royal College of Surgeons of England (Erasmus+ ABC to VLE affiliate)

Description: The RCS post-workshop strategy 

Authors: Elise Omfalos, Educator, RCS Learning Team

Date: May 2019

Course details: As other organisations, the implementation of the ideas put forward during the design process can be a challenge.

We work with extremely busy surgeons who give us their time on a voluntary basis.

We need to make the most of their time at the College and support them as best as we can.

Case Study

RCS Learning Innovation team approach to post-workshop planning

Context of change

Nataša Perović from UCL ran the first ABC Learning Design workshop at the college in 2018. A real success!

The Learning Design workshop is now an integral part of our course design process. We have been able to enhance our core learning offer by integrating a variety of digital tools into surgical education.

Course redevelopment at RCS using adapted ABC LD workshop

We are currently redeveloping our major courses and part of our strategy is to invite the surgical faculty team for two days of meetings.

We kick off on the first day with a review of the course: we check feedback, participant’s profile and curriculum requirements. We review the course Learning outcomes accordingly. After that, we run the Learning Design workshop.

At the end of the workshop, we break the project into work streams, with the help of the faculty.

In the past, we used to divide the work in tasks over the days following the workshop and we would follow up by email. It would then take some time for Faculty to respond and the momentum was a bit lost.

a group designing a course

Now Faculty are involved in the project planning: the whole working group translates the ideas generated during the workshop into tasks. This joint effort helps both admin and faculty to understand what’s needed, who will do what and by when. People volunteer to be responsible for a task much more spontaneously than they would via email.

The positive atmosphere generated by the workshop helps to keep the energy high and tackle project planning just after the workshop. The time we spend on clarifying tasks, roles and responsibilities is time saved afterwards when the project unfolds.

On the second day, we can then focus on material review and development.

RCS team using ABC resources to design their course


Thanks to the workshop, we have been very successful at creating healthy and productive relationships with surgeons. With a project management methodology, we understand each other’s work better and expectations are clarified from the beginning.

Surgeons appreciate our systematic project planning approach.

“We’ve been able to go through the whole course programme (…) to see what we need to do task specific, plans and timeframes for and we have literally halved the time we had to be able to go through that.” Lorraine Harry, Consultant Plastic Surgeon

Lessons learnt

Unfortunately, it’s hard for surgeons to keep up with their good intentions once they are back at their workplace. Course redevelopment projects generally get delayed.

One efficient solution we have found for most of our groups is to invite the surgeons for a follow-up meeting at the College, within 3 to 6 months after the initial course redevelopment meeting.

It would be good to agree on a date at the initial meeting. Surgical faculty appreciate this protected time at the College when they meet, to compare progress and write content.

Further information

RCS Learning Design Workshop

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