The Formula for a Successful Laparoscopic Skills Curriculum

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Abstract

Although multiple simulators have been validated as effective training tools, curriculum development is lagging, and considerable work is needed to determine the best methods for training. This article identifies the factors that influence the successful incorporation of simulator training into the resident curriculum, reviews the evidence regarding laparoscopic curriculum development in the surgical literature, and provides a formula for effective curriculum design. A successful laparoscopic skills curriculum depends on many factors including participant motivation, available resources and personnel, and trainee and faculty commitment. It should encompass goal-oriented training, sensitive and objective performance metrics, appropriate methods of instruction and feedback, deliberate, distributed, and variable practice, an amount of overtraining, maintenance training, and a cognitive component. A curriculum that follows these principles is likely to spark trainee interest, ensure their satisfaction and participation in training sessions, and lead to an effective and efficient way of acquiring new skills using simulators. A skills curriculum is a dynamic process that should be tailored to individual needs and be continuously optimized based on accumulated evidence and experience.

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