BACKGROUND: Simulation-based surgical training (SBST) is key to securing future surgical expertise . Proficiency-based training (PBT) in laparoscopy has shown promising results on skills transfer . However, time constraints and limited possibilities for distributed training constitute barriers to effective PBT . Home-based training may provide a solution to these barriers and may be a feasible alternative to centralized training in times of assembly constraints .
METHODS: We randomly assigned first-year trainees in abdominal surgery, gynecology, and urology to either centralized instructor-regulated training (CIRT) or home-based self-regulated training (HSRT) in laparoscopy . All participants trained on portable box trainers providing feedback on metrics and possibility for video reviewing . Training in both groups was structured as PBT with graded proficiency exercises adopted from the Fundamentals of Laparoscopic Surgery (FLS). The HSRT group trained at home guided by online learning materials, while the CIRT group attended two training sessions in the simulation center with feedback from experienced instructors . Performance tests consisted of hand-eye and bimanual coordination, suture and knot-tying, and FLS exercises . We analyzed passing rates, training time and distribution, and test performances .
RESULTS: Passing rates were 87% and 96% in the CIRT and HSRT group, respectively . HSRT facilitated distributed training and resulted in greater variation in training times . Task times for hand-eye and bimanual coordination were significantly reduced between pretest and posttest in both groups . Trainees maintained their posttest performances at the 6-month retention test . Our analyses revealed no significant inter-group differences in performances at pretest, posttest, or retention test . Performance improvements in the two groups followed similar patterns .
CONCLUSION: CIRT and HSRT in laparoscopy result in comparable performance improvements . HSRT in laparoscopy is a feasible and effective alternative to CIRT when offered inside a supportive instructional design . Further research is needed to clarify trainees' preferences and explore facilitators and barriers to HSRT.
Index: Laparoscopy, Proficiency-based training, Remote learning, Self-regulated learning, Simulation, Surgery