Are we over-thinking the training of residents in minimally invasive surgery? Two recent papers in prominent surgical journals suggest to me the answer is “Yes.”
In the July 2012 issue of Surgery, a paper entitled “Cheating experience: Guiding novices to adopt the gaze strategies of experts expedites the learning of technical laparoscopic skills” investigated whether teaching novices to perform simulated tasks on a laparoscopic surgery training system by using the gaze strategies of experts would improve performance. The Methods section of the paper is well over 2 pages in length. The idea was to have some novices perform tasks by simply discovering how to do them by trial and error. A second cohort of novices was given a template reproducing the gaze-tracking used by expert laparoscopic surgeons.
Those using the gaze templates performed the tasks more quickly and with fewer errors. Here’s a section of text from the Results section. Note: punctuation as per the authors.