Smeak D and Hill L. Modular delivery of core surgical skills instruction in veterinary medicine. Paper presented at: The Three Rs - Together it's possible. 8th World Congress on Alternatives and Animal Use in the Life Sciences; 2011 Aug 21-25; Montreal, Canada


Based on the results of two recent national surveys conducted by the authors about core surgical skills and proficiencies expected of entry-level veterinarians, an initiative has begun, the goal of which is to create a complete set of interactive core skills trainers in a digital multi-media modular format to be delivered through a centralized e-learning platform. Advantages of these modules include: guided/self-paced skills acquisition in a low stakes on-line format; potential reduction of required live animal experiences since students will have the necessary learning resources to acquire the core skills essential for multi-species surgical practice; inherent flexibility and re-usability of the e-learning format will allow for integration of modules into a variety of curricular plans. Developing teaching formats that maximally leverage faculty teaching resources, while allowing earlier opportunities for students to practice critical skill sets, such as those required to become competent entry-level surgeons, is vital to advancing ethical surgical teaching programs and graduating high quality veterinarians. These trainers will help ensure that learners are able to maximize the increasingly limited number of cadaveric and live-animal hands-on training experiences to their fullest potential. This session will highlight our first skills trainer, "Surgical Instrument Handing and Atraumatic Use." The developmental stages of this trainer and the finished module will be presented as a proof of concept. The course will contain a variety of interactive multimedia materials produced specifically for the course including: mini-lectures with 3D illustrations and demonstrations, interactive activities and assessments, course notes, hands-on laboratory exercises, and a course evaluation. 

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Link to journal: ALTEX - Alternatives to Animal Experimentation