Current understanding of learning psychomotor skills and the impact on teaching laparoscopic surgical skills

Colette White, Matthew Rodger, Thomas Tang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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Key content
- Trainees face many challenges in learning the skill set required to perform laparoscopic surgery.
- The time spent in the operating room has been detrimentally impacted upon since the implementation of the European Working Time Directive. In order to address the deficit, surgical educators have looked to the benefits enjoyed in the aviation and sports industries in using simulation training.

Learning objectives
- To summarise the current understanding of the neuropsychological basis of learning a psychomotor skill.
- To clarify factors that influence the acquisition of these skills.
- To summarise how this information can be used in teaching and assessment of laparoscopic skills.

Ethical issues
- The use of virtual reality simulators may be able to form a part of the aptitude assessment in the selection process, in order to identify trainees with the desired attributes to progress into the training programmes. However, as skill improves with practice, is it ethical to exclude novices with poor initial performance assessment before allowing them the opportunities to improve?
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)53-63
Number of pages11
JournalThe Obstetrician and Gynaecologist
Issue number1
Early online date27 Jan 2016
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2016



  • laparoscopic surgery
  • psychomotor skills
  • simulator training
  • Skill acquisition
  • surgery
  • training

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