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Simulation-Based Arthroscopic Skills Using a Spaced Retraining Schedule Reduces Short-Term Task Completion Time and Camera Path Length

      Purpose

      To investigate whether acquiring basic knee arthroscopic skills via a spaced retraining schedule could prevent skills deterioration and achieve further skills improvement.

      Methods

      In the learning phase, 16 residents with no previous hands-on experience in practicing arthroscopic skills were asked to perform basic arthroscopic tasks on a simulator until they attained perfect scores in each task. Immediately after completing the learning phase, a pretest was performed to assess their performance. Next, they were randomly assigned into 2 groups. The spaced retraining group, which undertook a spaced repetitive training phase with a fixed-time interval, returned on days 2, 4 and 6 to repeat the same tasks for 20 minutes per day, whereas the control group did nothing. On day 7, all participants performed a posttest. A 2 × 2 mixed analysis of variance model was used for statistical analysis.

      Results

      Significant differences between the 2 groups were found in task completion time (P = .003) and camera path length (P = .043) but not cartilage injury (P = .186). Residents in the spaced retraining group decreased their task completion time (163.2 ± 23.9 seconds) whereas the task time in the control group increased (351.3 ± 25.5 seconds). The same pattern was found with the camera path length.

      Conclusions

      Implementing a spaced retraining schedule in 1 week resulted in a reduced task completion time and camera path length but no significant reduction in cartilage injury. It appears that introducing a spaced retraining schedule to retain arthroscopic skills acquired through massed learning may be advantageous.

      Clinical Relevance

      In consideration of the training time available to residents and the trend toward massed learning, this spaced retraining schedule may offer a cost-effective and convenient way for residents to maintain and improve their basic arthroscopic skills with no significant increase in time invested.
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