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      Teaching suturing and knot-tying skills to medical students: a randomized controlled study comparing computer-based video instruction and (concurrent and summary) expert feedback.


      Teaching, Clinical Competence, standards, Sutures, education, Suture Techniques, Humans, Feedback, Psychological, Computer-Assisted Instruction

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          We carried out a prospective, randomized, 4-arm study including control arm, blinding of examiners to determine effectiveness of computer-based video instruction (CBVI) and different types of expert feedback (concurrent and summary) on learning of a basic technical skill. Using bench models, participants were pre-tested on a suturing and instrument knot-tying skill after viewing an instructional video. The students were subsequently assigned randomly to 4 practice conditions: no additional intervention (control), self study with CBVI, expert feedback during practice trials (concurrent feedback), and expert feedback after practice trials (summary feedback). All participants underwent 19 trials of practice, over 1 hour, in their assigned training condition. The effectiveness of training was assessed both at an immediate post-test and 1 month later at a retention test. Performance was evaluated using both expert-based (Global Rating Scores) and computer-based assessment (Hand Motion Analysis). Data were analyzed using repeated-measures ANOVA. There were no differences in GRS between groups at pre-test. The CBVI, concurrent feedback and summary feedback methods were equally effective initially for the instruction of this basic technical skill to naive medical students and displayed better performance than control (control, 12.71 [10.79 to 14.62]; CBVI, 16.39 [14.38 to 18.40]; concurrent, 16.97 [15.79 to 18.15]; summary, 16.09 [13.57 to 18.62]; P < .001 each). At retention. however, only CBVI and summary feedback groups retained superior suturing and knot-tying performance versus control (control, 8.13 [6.94 to 9.85]; CBVI, 11.92 [10.19 to 14.99] P = .037; concurrent, 9.80 [8.55 to 13.45] P = .635; summary, 111.19 [10.27 to 14.29] P = .037). Hand motion data displayed a similar pattern of results. There were no group differences in the rate of learning (P > .05). Our study showed that CBVI can be as effective as summary expert feedback in the instruction of basic technical skills to medical students. Thoughtfully incorporated into technical curricula, CBVI can make efficient use of faculty time and serve as a useful pedagogic adjunct for basic skills training. Additionally, our study provides evidence supporting an increased role of summary feedback to effectively train novices in technical skills.

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