BACKGROUND: Magnetic endoscopic imaging represents a recent advance in colonoscopy training. This technique provides adjunct information to the endoscopist, specifically with regard to colonoscope loop formation.OBJECTIVE: To examine the effect of a magnetic endoscopic imager on novice performance and workload in colonoscopy.METHODS: Twenty complete novices received an introductory teaching session followed by the completion of two procedures on a colonoscopy model. One-half of the participants performed their first procedure with the imager, and the second procedure without, while the other one-half were trained with the inverse sequence. Two main outcome measures were recorded: distance achieved and total workload as measured by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration task load index tool.RESULTS: A significant improvement was noted between the first and second colonoscopies, with the best performance recorded for participants who performed their first procedure with the imager, and their second without. The imager did not significantly change the total workload.DISCUSSION: The study participants paid attention to the magnetic endoscopic imager; however, this did not translate into a measurable increase in novice workload. A delayed learning benefit was conferred to the group exposed to the imager on their first colonoscopy, suggesting that, even at an early training stage, the additional imager information entered working memory and was processed in a useful fashion. The introductory teaching strategy used in the present study was successful as judged by the overall distance achieved and performance improvement seen in all study participants.