Effects of a Virtual Pointer on Trainees' Cognitive Load and Communication Efficiency in Surgical Training

AMIA Annu Symp Proc. 2020 Mar 4:2019:1197-1206. eCollection 2019.


We investigated the cognitive load effect of a trainer providing surgical instruction by pointing/drawing over laparoscopic video to a trainee. Results showed that while cognitive load is higher overall with the use of the instructional system, there is a decrease by the second experience of being instructed by the Virtual Pointer. Further analysis showed that trainees were more likely to perform the surgical task and watch/listen to the trainer's instruction at the same time when the instructional system was used. This is thought to be an indication of more efficient communication when using the instructional system. Thus, although there is a small cognitive overload with the instructional system initially, the more efficient communication allows trainees to better integrate the knowledge and instructions being conveyed into the actions they must perform - indicating a better learning environment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Clinical Competence
  • Cognition*
  • Communication
  • Computer Simulation*
  • General Surgery / education*
  • Humans
  • Laparoscopy / education*
  • Teaching
  • Teaching Materials
  • Video Recording