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JMIR Res Protoc. 2021 Jul 22; 10 (7): e28671. doi: 10.2196 / 28671.


BACKGROUND: Traditional face-to-face (FFT) training for basic surgical skills is inaccessible and resource intensive. Non-interactive computer learning is more economical but less pedagogically beneficial. Virtual Classroom Training (VCT) is a new method that enables interactive expert remote teaching. CDV can optimize resources and increase accessibility.

OBJECTIVE: We aim to determine whether VCT is superior to computer-based learning and not inferior to FFT in improving mastery of basic surgical skills.

METHODS: This is a protocol for a non-inferiority, parallel group, randomized controlled trial. A sample of 72 undergraduate students will be recruited from 5 London medical schools. Participants will be stratified by subjective and objective suturing experience level and divided into 3 intervention groups in a 1: 1: 1 ratio. The VCT will be delivered using BARCO weConnect software and the FFT will be provided by expert instructors. Optimal pupil / teacher ratios of 12: 1 for VCT and 4: 1 for FFT will be maintained. The assessed task will be interrupted by suturing with hand-tied knots.

RESULTS: The primary outcome will be the post-intervention objective structured assessment score of technical skills, assessed by 2 blinded study experts and adjusted for baseline skills. The non-inferiority margin (δ) will be defined from historical data.

CONCLUSIONS: This study will serve as a comprehensive assessment of the suitability of virtual classroom training on basic surgical skills as an alternative to FFT. Our findings will aid in the development and implementation of new virtual, accessible and resource-efficient basic surgical skills training programs during the COVID-19 pandemic and into the future.

TRIAL REGISTRATION: International Standard Randomized Controlled Trial Number ISRCTN12448098;


PMID: 34292162 | DOI: 10.2196 / 28671

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