The Effect of E-learning vs. Didactic Lectures on Knowledge in Basic Laparoscopic Skills and Advanced Suturing in Developing Countries

Sujith Wijerathne1, Eva Lourdes1, Alfred A Buenafe2, Asim Shabbir1, Rishav Shrestha1, Davide Lomanto, Prof1. 1Minimally Invasive Surgery Centre, Department of Surgery, National University Health System, Singapore, 2Batangas Medical Centre, Philippines

Introduction: Knowledge on basic laparoscopic skills and advanced suturing is an essential component of the residency training in general surgery. The advancement of science has given us multiple platforms to deliver and acquire knowledge. E-learning is increasingly gaining popularity among both residents and lecturers due to its easy accessibility and reproducibility. But residents in developing countries may have limitations with access to basic laparoscopic skills training either by simple lectures and/or e-learning. E-learning may be superior to conventional lectures because it’s accessible any time. The improvement of connectivity is helpful in providing more e-teaching to surgical residents in remote areas.

Methods: We created an online e-learning platform at  in which different modules focus on basic laparoscopic skills and advanced suturing. An assessment test was performed before and after completion of the course and/or lectures using 20 predefined multiple choice questions (MCQs). 84 surgical residents from Nepal, Myanmar, Cambodia, Sri Lanka, and India were enrolled for the e-learning exercise.

Results: 75(89.3%) took part in the pre-test and 71(84.5%) took part in the post­test while only 63(75%) of them completed both pre and post-tests. Out of the 63 residents who completed both tests, 12(19%) had no change in test scores, 11(17.5%) had poorer test scores and 40(63.5%) had improved scores. The mean pre­test and post­test scores were 67.1(±11.97) and 77.1 (±11.94) respectively and this was statistically significant (p<0.0001).

Conclusion: During an era where access for electronic data is widely available, e-learning can be effectively incorporated in to the residency curriculum, which could help improve knowledge of residents on selected core topics.

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