The SELF Symposium is a gathering of leaders aimed at accelerating progress towards a future where high-quality procedural skills training is universal.

The SELF Symposium will take place during International Surgical Week (ISW) in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on August 29 and 30, 2024. During the event, participants will review progress since 2023, adjust priorities, and further plan how to operationalize SELF’s potential.

This event is by invitation only and will include educators, technologists, researchers, clinicians, policymakers, and learners. Together, participants share a vision for scaling procedural skills training, education, and research in low-resource settings.

The Surgical Education Learners Forum (SELF) is a global community of practice that develops, evaluates, and scales procedural skills training for clinicians in low-resource settings. SELF training modules are designed to enable independent, effective skill acquisition. Through self-directed learning, clinicians can train wherever they are and without the need for a constant instructor. In turn, skill acquisition occurs more equitably and at a scale that is needed to address the global burden of disease.


The SELF Symposium takes place during ISW. SELF Symposium participants are welcome to participate in ISW from August 25 – 28, and participants are expected to attend both days of the SELF Symposium on August 29 and 30.

Wednesday, August 28

Welcome Reception
This informal reception allows participants to reconnect with the SELF community.

Thursday, August 29

Thursday Introduction
We will start by reviewing our goals and methods for this year’s SELF Symposium.

Roadmap for SELF
We will review what the SELF community has made progress on since the previous SELF Symposium in August 2023, and we will discuss where SELF is headed over time and the work that needs to happen next.

Developer Tools
We will analyze newer tools and support structures for SELF module developers in order to shape what else might be needed to further accelerate our efforts.

Evidence and Quality
We will revisit the standards of evidence and quality that are prerequisites for scaling the SELF community’s efforts. We will discuss the challenges of and solutions for generating evidence relating to effectiveness and safety.

We will analyze the priority procedures and training modules identified during the 2023 SELF Symposium, and we will revisit these priorities based on updated criteria, learnings, and new perspectives.

Salon Dinners
In the evening, each participant is invited to attend a facilitated dinner on a specific topic of interest for the SELF community.

Friday, August 30

Friday Introduction
In our second and final full day, we will look towards the future to focus on concrete actions that the group can take to accelerate progress. During this introduction, we will preview the day’s goals and agenda, which includes starting with more flexible spaces for both conversation and action.

Working Groups
We will break into working groups formed around specific topics, such as developing various standards for training modules. These groups provide semi-structured space to discuss more specialized actions that we want to make progress on together.

We will envision how SELF continues to grow at a scale that is needed to address the global burden of disease. Participants will anticipate and plan for rapid adoption of the SELF model for skill acquisition and then consider specific conditions and solutions to enable scale.

Working Groups
We will once more break into working groups to discuss specialized topics and how we might partner together to prepare for scale. Some groups may center on concrete ideas for collaboration among the current members of the SELF community, while others may consider how to bring SELF to existing groups doing aligned work.

We will consider who could join the SELF community or support SELF as partners to realize SELF’s potential. During this session, we will discuss partnership opportunities, responsibilities, and strategies for further developing SELF with others.

We plan to commit to action on a set of recommendations and coordinated efforts to guide the SELF community’s work for the next year.

Closing Reception
In the evening, each participant is invited to attend a closing reception to recognize one another’s efforts and make the most of our time in person among SELF’s global community of practice.

The 2023 SELF Symposium

For reference, you can review the SELF Symposium 2023 Participant Booklet (PDF), which includes information about the goals, attendees, and agenda of the first SELF Symposium.