Evaluation of Different Time Schedules in Training with the da Vinci Simulator

Christian Güldner,  Annik Orth, Philipp Otto Georg Dworschak, Isabell Diogo, Magis Mandapathil, Afshin Teymoortash, Ute Walliczek-Dworschak


This prospective study analyzed the effect of different time schedules in training on the main performance outcomes: overall score, time to complete, and economy of motion.

The study was performed on the da Vinci Skills Simulator from December 2014 to April 2016. Forty robotic novices were randomized into two groups of 20 participants, which trained in the same three exercises but with different intervals between their training sessions. Each group performed training in Peg Board 1 in their first week, Match Board 2 in their second week, and Ring and Rail 2 in their third week. On their last day, Needle Targeting and Energy Dissection 2, for which no previous training had been received, were performed. Regarding the different training intervals, group 1 trained each exercise six times in a row once a week. Group 2 performed their training once a day for 5 days. Technical performance parameters were recorded by the Mimics simulator software for further analysis. In addition, the participants were asked to fill out a questionnaire concerning the robotics training.

Group 2 performed significantly better compared to group 1 in the main metrics in the more advanced exercises. For the easier exercises, the training frequency did not lead to significant differences in performance outcome. A significant skills gain was seen between the first and last training sessions for all exercises in both groups.

Performance in the final exercise NT was significantly better in group 2 than group 1. Regarding ED 2, no difference was found between the two groups. As the training of group 2 led to significantly better outcomes, we suggest that, especially for advanced exercises, it seems to be more favorable to perform training every day for a short period than to train once a week six times in a row.

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