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Type: Conference paper
Title: Lecture attendance, learning style and assessment outcome in physiology students
Author: Horton, D.
Wiederman, S.
Saint, D.
Citation: The Education Research Group of Adelaide (ERGA) conference 2010: The Changing Face of Education, 24-25 September, 2010
Publisher: The University of Adelaide
Issue Date: 2010
Conference Name: ERGA Conference (5th : 2010 : Adelaide, Australia)
Abstract: The delivery of material in a didactic lecture format is a feature in many courses. In many cases, lectures are an inherited form of content delivery, or are used for pragmatic reasons (e.g. resource constraints) rather than being actively chosen on the basis of information on their effectiveness. It is likely that students have varied learning styles, or combination of styles, assessed by VARK (visual, auditory, reading/writing and kinaesthetic). We postulated that the use of didactic lecture formats is likely not to be an equally effective means of information delivery for all students. In Human Physiology II, lectures are a major component of content delivery, but attendance is not compulsory. Anecdotal evidence suggests that attendance rates are as low as 50%. Here, we have investigated the correlation between lecture attendance and student performance in different assessment tasks, and the influence of the students’ learning style on this. We hypothesised that the degree of correlation of lecture attendance with marks will be different for students with different VARK profiles. Second year students for the combined Biomedical, Health and Science 2009 cohort (n=120) completed a questionnaire in which they self-reported their lecture attendance and the time they spend using alternative resources to supplement their learning. Self-reported lecture attendance in the first semester of 2009 was 73 ± 2 %. For males and females combined, lecture attendance correlated with: Tutorial mark (r=0.35, p<0.0005), Practical Mark (r=0.29, p<0.002), Exam Mark (r=0.21, p<0.02) and Overall Mark (r=0.31, p<0.001). For males only (n=49), similar correlations were seen for lecture attendance correlated with Tutorial mark (r=0.29, p<0.05), Practical Mark (r=0.32, p<0.03), Exam Mark (r=0.29, p<0.04) and Overall Mark (r=0.35, p<0.01). However, in females (n=71) lecture attendance predicted Tutorial mark (r=0.33, p<0.005), but not Practical Mark (r=0.20, p<0.10, ns), Exam Mark (r=0.10, ns) or Overall Mark (r=0.20, p<0.10, ns). Ninety five students completed the VARK assessment. For these students, a greater percentage score of ‘R’ (i.e. use read/writing as a method of learning by VARK analysis) predicted: Exam Mark (r=0.22, p<0.03), Tutorial mark (r=0.20, p<0.05), Practical Mark (r=0.19, p<0.07), Overall Mark (r=0.26, p<0.02). Females had a higher proportion of ‘R’ compared to males (Females =0.29 ± 0.01, n=63: Males =0.25 ± 0.01, n=32; P<0.03). We conclude that lecture attendance and learning styles interact in predicting overall mark, but the details, and the causal relationships, require more investigation.
Rights: Copyright © 2010 The University of Adelaide
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Medical Sciences publications

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