Surgical skill acquisition with self-directed practice using computer-based video training

Am J Surg. 2007 Feb;193(2):237-42. doi: 10.1016/j.amjsurg.2006.11.003.


Background: Computer-based video training (CBVT) provides flexible opportunities for surgical trainees to learn fundamental technical skills, but may be ineffective in self-directed practice settings because of poor trainee self-assessment. This study examined whether CBVT is effective in a self-directed learning environment among novice trainees.

Methods: Thirty novice trainees used CBVT to learn the 1-handed square knot while self-assessing their proficiency every 3 minutes. On reaching self-assessed skill proficiency, trainees were randomized to either cease practice or to complete additional practice. Performance was evaluated with computer and expert-based measures during practice and on pretests, posttests, and 1-week retention tests.

Results: Analyses revealed performance improvements for both groups (all P < .05), but no differences between the 2 groups (all P > .05) on all tests.

Conclusions: CBVT for the 1-handed square knot is effective in a self-directed learning environment among novices. This lends support to the implementation of self-directed digital media-based learning within surgical curricula.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Clinical Competence
  • Computer-Assisted Instruction*
  • Education, Medical, Undergraduate*
  • Educational Measurement*
  • Humans
  • Self-Evaluation Programs
  • Surgical Procedures, Operative / education*
  • Suture Techniques / education
  • Video Recording