Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Industrial Engineering

Committee Chair/Advisor

Dr. Jackie Cha

Committee Member

Dr. Amin Khademi

Committee Member

Dr. Alfredo Carbonell

Committee Member

Dr. Qi Luo


Psychomotor skills are comprised of physical movements and mental adaptations of movements to complete a task, generally using complex tools or components. Laparoscopic surgery training tasks are a prime example of tasks requiring psychomotor skills due to their demand for both fine hand movements and constant mental adaptation to the changing environment of the human body. A typical evaluation of these skills can be accomplished using learning curves, a graphical representation of skill growth in which a performance metric is plotted over a time experience metric. Previously, in the literature, several learning curves have been generated from the performance within specific psychomotor skills over the trials completed for the task. However, these learning curves do measure the information that a repetition of the task provides. Here, we propose an information theoretic approach to identify the amount of information a task repetition provides. The information theoretic approach is accomplished by assuming that a task repetition is equivalent to an experiment's repetition. A Bernoulli outcome variable specified by a Beta skill parameter generated an information gain model. Twenty participants completed continuous laparoscopic Matchboard training task trials until a proficiency metric was reached. The information gain model was then calibrated using 16 randomly chosen participants' trials to proficiency and validated by simulating four new sample trials tested against the remaining participant's data. The information gain model successfully predicted the trials to proficiency better than the training main and provided a level of information gain acceptable for stopping training at proficiency. Utilizing the information gained for stopping training rather than a single performance metric allows the model to evaluate information directly relative to proficiency. Therefore, the information gain model can be utilized to determine if proficiency metrics are adequate for adjudicating proficiency in motor skills tasks. The abstract is a succinct statement of the significant contents of the manuscript and the value and relevance of the study.

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