Accelerated Skills Acquisition Protocol (ASAP) in optimizing robotic surgical simulation training: a prospective randomized study



To assess the efficacy of an accelerated proficiency-based training protocol in robotic simulation practice in delivering durable proficiency compared to conventional training methods.


Novice medical students (n = 16) were randomized into either the accelerated skills acquisition protocol (ASAP) or conventional training protocol (CTP). Subjects were trained to proficiency on the da Vinci Skills Simulator (dVSS) by an expert trainer. Differences in the repetitions required to achieve proficiency in two simple and two complex virtual reality (VR) training tasks were assessed as the primary outcome measure. Transfer of the acquired skills to two other non-practiced tasks was assessed immediately and prospectively followed through to 3, 6 and 12 months in the two groups. Retention of the practiced tasks was assessed along the same timeframe.


Subjects in the ASAP group acquired proficiency significantly faster in three of the four training tasks: camera control (p = 0.0002), suture sponge (p < 0.0001), ring walk3 (p < 0.0001), and peg board (p = 0.6936). When assessing transfer of skills, there were no significant differences between the two groups: Ring rail 3 (p = 0.6807) and Tubes (p = 0.2240). When assessing retention of skills at 3, 6 and 12 months, for all 6 tasks, no significant differences were seen between the ASAP and CTP groups.


ASAP is proven to be an efficient approach for delivering proficiency in robotic VR simulation training. The results are durable when compared to conventional simulation training methods. The findings may have significant implications in the design of robotic VR simulation curricula.

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Author information




PMSG: manuscript writing, data analysis. TC: data collection, manuscript revision. BW: statistical analysis. JVJ: manuscript revision, supervision. AEG: project conceptualization and management, manuscript revision, supervision.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Ahmed E. Ghazi.

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The study was conducted with IRB approval.

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Gurung, P.M.S., Campbell, T., Wang, B. et al. Accelerated Skills Acquisition Protocol (ASAP) in optimizing robotic surgical simulation training: a prospective randomized study. World J Urol 38, 1623–1630 (2020).

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  • Robotic surgery
  • Robotic simulation
  • Surgical training