56. Proficiency at the end of practice predicts retention of a technical clinical skills

H. Carnahan, E. Hagemann, A. Dubrowski


A debate is emerging regarding the efficacy of proficiency based versus duration based training of technical skills. It is not clear whether the performance level attained at the end of practice (i.e., proficiency criteria), or the overall amount of practice performed during learning will best predict the retention of a technical clinical skill.
The skill learned was the single-handed double square-knot. Forty two trainees learned the skill through video-based instruction and were divided into three groups (14 participants per group) each with a specific criterion time to tie the knot (10, 15, and 20 seconds). Practice continued until participants completed the knot within their criterion time. The total number of trials, and the overall practice time required to obtain each respective criterion were recorded during practice. Participants returned one-week later for a timed retention test consisting of one trial of the knot tying skill with no video instruction.
A multiple regression analysis tested whether the amount of practice, the total practice time, or the criterion reached at the end of practice was the best predictor of the time taken to perform the skill during retention. This analysis showed that the number of practice trials was highly correlated with total practice time (r = .82, p = .01), therefore total practice time was withdrawn as a predictor variable from the subsequent analysis. The regression showed that the only significant predictor of retention performance was the criterion reached at the end of practice (p = .03). The number of practice trials was not found to significantly predict the retention performance (p = .87).
The results support the notion that proficiency based training results in better retention of a technical clinical skill in comparison to duration based approaches. This provides evidence for the introduction of proficiency based educational approaches in technical skills curricula.
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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.25011/cim.v30i4.2817


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