Randomized trial to assess the effect of supervised and unsupervised video feedback on teaching practical skills

J Surg Educ. Jul-Aug 2015;72(4):697-703. doi: 10.1016/j.jsurg.2014.12.013. Epub 2015 Feb 18.


Background: Feedback is a vital component of the learning process; however, great variation exists in the quality, quantity, and method of delivery. Video feedback is not commonly used in the teaching of surgical skills. The aim of this trial was to evaluate the benefit of 2 types of video feedback-individualized video feedback (IVF), with the student reviewing their performance with an expert tutor, and unsupervised video-enhanced feedback (UVF), where the student reviews their own performance together with an expert teaching video-to determine if these improve performance when compared with a standard lecture feedback.

Methods: A prospective blinded randomized control trial comparing lecture feedback with IVF and UVF was carried out. Students were scored by 2 experts directly observing the performance and 2 blinded experts using a validated pro forma. Participants were recorded on video when performing a suturing task. They then received their feedback via any of the 3 methods before being invited to repeat the task.

Results: A total of 32 students were recruited between the 3 groups. There was no significant difference in suturing skill performance scores given by those directly observing the students and those blinded to the participant. There was no statistically significant difference between the 2 video feedback groups (p = 1.000), but there was significant improvement between standard lecture feedback and UVF (p = 0.047) and IVF (p = 0.001).

Conclusion: Video feedback can facilitate greater learning of clinical skills. Students can attain a similar level of surgical skills improvement with UVF as with teacher-intensive IVF.

Keywords: Medical Knowledge; Patient Care; Practice-Based Learning and Improvement; clinical skills; feedback; training; unsupervised video-feedback; video feedback.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Clinical Competence*
  • Education, Medical, Undergraduate / methods*
  • Educational Measurement
  • Feedback*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Prospective Studies
  • Suture Techniques / education*
  • Video Recording*
  • Young Adult