The development of a virtual reality training curriculum for colonoscopy

Ann Surg. 2012 Jul;256(1):188-92. doi: 10.1097/SLA.0b013e31825b6e9c.


Objectives: The development of a structured virtual reality (VR) training curriculum for colonoscopy using high-fidelity simulation.

Background: Colonoscopy requires detailed knowledge and technical skill. Changes to working practices in recent times have reduced the availability of traditional training opportunities. Much might, therefore, be achieved by applying novel technologies such as VR simulation to colonoscopy. Scientifically developed device-specific curricula aim to maximize the yield of laboratory-based training by focusing on validated modules and linking progression to the attainment of benchmarked proficiency criteria.

Methods: Fifty participants comprised of 30 novices (<10 colonoscopies), 10 intermediates (100 to 500 colonoscopies), and 10 experienced (>500 colonoscopies) colonoscopists were recruited to participate. Surrogates of proficiency, such as number of procedures undertaken, determined prospective allocation to 1 of 3 groups (novice, intermediate, and experienced). Construct validity and learning value (comparison between groups and within groups respectively) for each task and metric on the chosen simulator model determined suitability for inclusion in the curriculum.

Results: Eight tasks in possession of construct validity and significant learning curves were included in the curriculum: 3 abstract tasks, 4 part-procedural tasks, and 1 procedural task. The whole-procedure task was valid for 11 metrics including the following: "time taken to complete the task" (1238, 343, and 293 s; P < 0.001) and "insertion length with embedded tip" (23.8, 3.6, and 4.9 cm; P = 0.005). Learning curves consistently plateaued at or beyond the ninth attempt. Valid metrics were used to define benchmarks, derived from the performance of the experienced cohort, for each included task.

Conclusions: A comprehensive, stratified, benchmarked, whole-procedure curriculum has been developed for a modern high-fidelity VR colonoscopy simulator.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Colonoscopy / education*
  • Computer Simulation*
  • Curriculum* / trends
  • Humans
  • Learning Curve
  • Task Performance and Analysis
  • User-Computer Interface