Online learning versus classroom learning: Questioning who learns what

Witchel, Harry, Langlands, Kenneth, MacQueen, Hilary A, Kumar, Prem, Torrens, Christopher and Hall, Sarah K (2020) Online learning versus classroom learning: Questioning who learns what. Physiology News Magazine, 2020 (119). pp. 16-17. ISSN 1476-7996

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Should educators demand mandatory levels of online engagement, or “take attendance” for distance learning sessions, such as during the COVID-19 crisis? After all, when teaching in front of an undergraduate student cohort with their many laptops open, it’s likely that quite a few of them are surfing the web or are on social media. Is this kind of classroom attendance really necessary? The COVID-19 crisis has highlighted this question. Even before the pandemic, the ubiquity of lecture capture broke the traditional link between classroom attendance and student exam performance (Kauffman et al., 2018).

A small but vocal minority of students complain about attendance requirements. Yet many medical schools still maintain a minimum attendance requirement, although these regulations are changing school by school. We know, and there is clear research in the education literature, that some motivated students are perfectly capable of learning the knowledge tested by multiple choice questions (MCQs) without attending traditional lectures at all (Kauffman et al., 2018). MCQ tests rely on cognitive recognition by providing a cue for your memory (the correct option) that bypasses the need to mentally construct the answer from scratch; so, recognition tests require less cognitive processing, and are easier (when testing the same material), than recall type tests (e.g. fill in the blank or essay). It may be that live learning only benefits problem solving and higher cognition, rather than MCQ style recognition learning, or live learning may only add to subtle but important conceptual learning, rather than rote learning. In that case, would research based on MCQ tests even be able to detect this additional conceptual learning that is fundamental to physiology?

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Online Learning, Learning, Covid
Schools and Departments: Brighton and Sussex Medical School > Neuroscience
SWORD Depositor: Mx Elements Account
Depositing User: Mx Elements Account
Date Deposited: 23 Jun 2022 12:27
Last Modified: 23 Jun 2022 12:30

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