Surgeons must learn to perform operations. The current system of surgical resident education is facing many challenges in terms of time efficiency, costs, and patient safety. In addition, as new types of operations are developed rapidly, practicing surgeons may find a need for more efficient methods of surgical skill education. An in-depth examination of the current learning environment and the literature of motor skills learning provides insights into ways in which surgical skills education can be improved. Computers will certainly be a part of this process. Computer-based training in technical skills has the potential to solve many of the educational, economic, ethical, and patient safety issues related to learning to perform operations. Although full virtual-reality systems are still in development, there has been early progress that should encourage surgeons to incorporate computer simulation into the surgical curriculum.