Cognitive learning and its future in urology: surgical skills teaching and assessment

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Abstract

Purpose of review

The aim of this study is to provide an overview of the current status of novel cognitive training approaches in surgery and to investigate the potential role of cognitive training in surgical education.

Recent findings

Kinematics of end-effector trajectories, as well as cognitive state features of surgeon trainees and mentors have recently been studied as modalities to objectively evaluate the expertise level of trainees and to shorten the learning process. Virtual reality and haptics also have shown promising in research results in improving the surgical learning process by providing feedback to the trainee.

Summary

‘Cognitive training’ is a novel approach to enhance training and surgical performance. The utility of cognitive training in improving motor skills in other fields, including sports and rehabilitation, is promising enough to justify its utilization to improve surgical performance. However, some surgical procedures, especially ones performed during human–robot interaction in robot-assisted surgery, are much more complicated than sport and rehabilitation. Cognitive training has shown promising results in surgical skills-acquisition in complicated environments such as surgery. However, these methods are mostly developed in research groups using limited individuals. Transferring this research into the clinical applications is a demanding challenge. The aim of this review is to provide an overview of the current status of these novel cognitive training approaches in surgery and to investigate the potential role of cognitive training in surgical education.

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