Studies of classroom attendance patterns in undergraduate students have shown that attendance and performance go hand in hand—attending class is the key to reaping the rewards of academic achievement. However, many of these studies were completed before the advent of the internet and the explosion of online learning.
Researchers discussed the changing nature of medical student engagement in the physical classroom and effective teaching approaches recently at the American Physiological Society (APS) Institute on Teaching and Learning in Madison, Wis.
Medical school faculty has reported recent declines in classroom attendance as more online educational content has become available. However, medical student attendance habits have not been as extensively studied. Researchers from the University of Central Florida (UCF) College of Medicine explored the learning styles and test performance of medical students who were able to choose between attending lectures and small-group learning sessions and receiving the materials in a digital format. They found that high-performing students were more likely to skip non-mandatory in-class sessions, and their performance on the final examination did not suffer for it. Their findings suggest that attendance is not a solid predictor of the students who do best.
“We conclude that different facets of self-regulated learning predict attendance, with highly confident students being the least likely to attend and that attendance at in-class sessions is no longer a good marker for those who will do well in a course,” the research team wrote.