Use of a Low-Cost Portable 3D Virtual Reality Gesture-Mediated Simulator for Training and Learning Basic Psychomotor Skills in Minimally Invasive Surgery: Development and Content Validity Study

J Med Internet Res. 2020 Jul 14;22(7):e17491. doi: 10.2196/17491.


Background: Simulation in virtual environments has become a new paradigm for surgeon training in minimally invasive surgery (MIS). However, this technology is expensive and difficult to access.

Objective: This study aims first to describe the development of a new gesture-based simulator for learning skills in MIS and, second, to establish its fidelity to the criterion and sources of content-related validity evidence.

Methods: For the development of the gesture-mediated simulator for MIS using virtual reality (SIMISGEST-VR), a design-based research (DBR) paradigm was adopted. For the second objective, 30 participants completed a questionnaire, with responses scored on a 5-point Likert scale. A literature review on the validity of the MIS training-VR (MIST-VR) was conducted. The study of fidelity to the criterion was rated using a 10-item questionnaire, while the sources of content-related validity evidence were assessed using 10 questions about the simulator training capacity and 6 questions about MIS tasks, and an iterative process of instrument pilot testing was performed.

Results: A good enough prototype of a gesture-based simulator was developed with metrics and feedback for learning psychomotor skills in MIS. As per the survey conducted to assess the fidelity to the criterion, all 30 participants felt that most aspects of the simulator were adequately realistic and that it could be used as a tool for teaching basic psychomotor skills in laparoscopic surgery (Likert score: 4.07-4.73). The sources of content-related validity evidence showed that this study's simulator is a reliable training tool and that the exercises enable learning of the basic psychomotor skills required in MIS (Likert score: 4.28-4.67).

Conclusions: The development of gesture-based 3D virtual environments for training and learning basic psychomotor skills in MIS opens up a new approach to low-cost, portable simulation that allows ubiquitous learning and preoperative warm-up. Fidelity to the criterion was duly evaluated, which allowed a good enough prototype to be achieved. Content-related validity evidence for SIMISGEST-VR was also obtained.

Keywords: computer-assisted surgery; medical education; minimally invasive surgery; operating rooms; simulation training; user-computer interface.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Clinical Competence / economics*
  • Computer Simulation / economics*
  • Costs and Cost Analysis / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Imaging, Three-Dimensional / methods*
  • Minimally Invasive Surgical Procedures / education*
  • Psychomotor Performance
  • Virtual Reality*