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Am J Surg. 2008 Jun;195(6):837-42. doi: 10.1016/j.amjsurg.2007.09.034. Epub 2008 Apr 16.

Learning style and laparoscopic experience in psychomotor skill performance using a virtual reality surgical simulator.

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  • 1Department of Surgery, Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences, University of Auckland, Park Rd, Grafton, Auckland, New Zealand.



People learn in different ways, and training techniques and technologies should accommodate individual learning needs. This pilot study looks at the relationship between learning style, as measured with the Multiple Intelligences Developmental Assessment Scales (MIDAS), laparoscopic surgery experience and psychomotor skill performance using the MIST VR surgical simulator.


Five groups of volunteer subjects were selected from undergraduate tertiary students, medical students, novice surgical trainees, advanced surgical trainees and experienced laparoscopic surgeons. Each group was administered the MIDAS followed by two simulated surgical tasks on the MIST VR simulator.


There was a striking homogeny of learning styles amongst experienced laparoscopic surgeons. Significant differences in the distribution of primary learning styles were found (P < .01) between subjects with minimal surgical training and those with considerable experience. A bodily-kinesthetic learning style, irrespective of experience, was associated with the best performance of the laparoscopic tasks.


This is the first study to highlight the relationship between learning style, psychomotor skill and laparoscopic surgical experience with implications for surgeon selection, training and credentialling.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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