Better than the real thing? Success of a virtual platform for an established “Train the Trainer” course

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Surgical Endoscopy


Background: The Society of American Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic Surgeons (SAGES) uses the Laparoscopic colectomy Train the Trainer (Lapco TT) framework for standardization of instructor training for Hands-On surgical skills courses. The curriculum focuses on teaching structure, skills deconstruction, trainer intervention framework, and performance enhancing feedback. A halt in the in-person Lapco TT courses due to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic necessitated creation of a virtual alternative. We investigated the effectiveness of this virtual course. Methods: Adaptation of the in-person Lapco TT course to the virtual format retained the majority of content as well as the 4:6 instructor-to-participant ratio. The virtual platform and simulators chosen allowed maximal interactivity and ease of use. After participating in the day and one half course, participants completed an 8-item post-course survey using a 5-point Likert scale related to the training experience. In addition, they had the opportunity to provide answers to several open-ended questions regarding the course. For the survey, frequency counts provided an assessment of each item. For the open questions, qualitative analysis included determination of themes for each question. Frequency counts of each theme provided quantitative analysis. Results: Thirty-six total participants completed a Lapco TT virtual course (six sessions of six participants). Of this number, 32 participants completed post-course surveys and questions. All the participants completing the survey would very likely or definitely (Likert scale 4, 5) recommend the course to a colleague and incorporate the teaching in their practice. The majority of participants completing open-ended questions felt the virtual course format was effective; half thought that post-course follow-up would be useful. Technical concerns were an issue using the virtual format. Conclusion: A virtual Lapco TT course is feasible and well received by participants. It presents a potentially more cost effective option to faculty development.

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