A novel tool to increase educational impact has been honored with the 2020 AO Trauma Innovation in Education Award

Read about the winner's project

13 April 2021


A four-person project team from the United States in December 2020 earned the AO Trauma Innovation in Education Award 2020 for its project titled, "CollaboPOP—A Novel Tool for Increasing Educational Impact in the Modern Orthopedic Trauma Setting." The jury praised the project as highly innovative and ambitious.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the award ceremony will take place during the AO Trauma courses at the AO Davos Courses in December 2021.


Enhancing the AO Trauma educational experience

The AO Trauma Innovation in Education Award, initiated in 2018, recognizes innovative approaches to educational content, education delivery, and curriculum design. In 2020, the year the COVID-19 pandemic changed education, AO Trauma was particularly looking for innovations in the field of digital education.

Projects submitted for the annual award should advance the following aspirations:

  • Increase teaching effectiveness.
  • Educational impact.
  • Stimulating learners’ motivation.
  • Engaging learners in the learning process.
  • Increase interaction.

The proposed learning method: CollaboPOP

With CollaboPOP, the project team deconstructed the concept of traditional preoperative planning and reformatted it into an educational tool for both trainees and educators in the orthopedic trauma realm to elevate learning and teaching success.

"Both being an effective educator and effective learning in the orthopedic trauma environment requires motivation, preparation, communication, knowledge retention, and application. Constraints such as work hours, patient care duties, research commitments and the drive for day-to-day operative efficiency can often put a burden on the learning potential within the training environment.

As a result of increased use of technological advancement by trainees and decreased face-to-face interaction resulting from social distancing during the current pandemic, it has become evident that traditional methods may not be so relevant on both the learning and teaching ends of the spectrum."

CollaboPOP is short for Collaborative Pre-Operative Planning. It references a method of interaction between trainees and educators with several common goals in mind: interactive, real-time communication, critical thinking with focused feedback, and knowledge retention and notation for reference and future application. Additionally, it utilizes modern cloud-based programs to facilitate evolving learning styles and promote interaction between trainees and educators.

The goals of CollaboPOP

The concept and principles behind CollaboPOP originated from the perspective of trainees-turned-educators looking for a way to inspire, engage, motivate, and uncover potential in their own trainees. CollaboPOP aims to:

  • Formulate a reproducible preoperative planning structure incorporating traditional tenets with modernized elements to facilitate an interactive, team-based approach to learning and patient care.
  • Minimize the barriers to effective education in the orthopedic trauma environment by facilitating collaboration between trainees and educators.
  • Bridge the evolving educational divide between trainees and educators through an easy-to-use platform that motivates trainees to learn and allows educators to actively participate despite differences in learning styles.

To learn more about this innovative project, watch the interview with Justin Lucas and Andrew Fithian on AO TV during the AO Davos Courses 2020.


Primary contributors:

Justin F Lucas MD
Andrew T Fithian, MD


Garin G Hecht, MD
Michael J. Gardner, MD

The jury, consisting of members of the AO Trauma Education Commission, the AO Education Institute Advisory Board, and the AO Trauma Community Development Commission, made its decision in early November.

The runner-up project, pARaDigma (pelvic trauma, AR+Didaktik, medizinische Ausbildung), from Sandro-Michael Heining, Felix Bork, Nassir Navab, Kai Sprengel, and Hans-Christoph Pape will be introduced soon. Stay tuned.

Justin Lucas
“Our team truly believes in our creation and is delighted to have the AO Trauma Education Commission support us.”

Justin F Lucas (contributor)

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