e-Learning: are all users in front of the computer all the time?

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Bigeni, Josephine ; Bigeni, Sarah ; Balzan, Martin (2013)
  • Publisher: Journal of European CME
  • Journal: Journal of European CME (issn: 2161-4083, eissn: 2161-4083)
  • Related identifiers: doi: 10.3402/jecme.v2i0.22826
  • Subject: e-learning, web-based learning, undergraduate medical education, learning management system

Introduction: e-Learning has been shown to be an effective and useful tool in medical education. An e-learning project was part financed through EU funds project ESF1.19 (Malta).Objective: To assess if medical students using e-learning are in front of the screen while using the e-lectures.Method: Eighty-seven finalyear medical students were encouraged to complete an online respiratory course (13 streamed lectures+13 quizzes) on a voluntary basis and were offered a reward on completion. A moodle e-learning management system collected data regarding user activity, in particular the duration of participation. A group of 14 core medical trainees who were forewarned of detection of possible irregular activity was also observed as a reference group.Results: Forty-three medical students completed all modules. Six lectures with corresponding quizzes were analysed; 65.5% (male 66.7%, female 64.1%) of the lectures were completed within the expected time frame; in 19% of lectures, users logged in for a period of 5 minutes less than the duration of the lecture, while 14.7% of users logged in for a duration that was twice as long as the total duration of the lecture. Only 16.3% of students completed all lectures within the established period; 27.9%, 20.9%, and 18.6% missed one, two, and three, lectures respectively; and 16.3% missed more than four lectures. In the other group (the 14 forewarned core medical trainees), 65 modules amongst 12 trainees showed that trainees completed a module in a mean of 113.25% (95% confidence interval 109.72–116.78) of the actual duration of a lecture.Conclusion: The study indicates that in 83.7% of the cases, there was at least one instance per user during which the user was not physically present throughout the presentation of a lecture. The e-learning management systems should be robust so as to detect this kind of behaviour before certification.Keywords: e-learning, web-based learning, undergraduate medical education, learning management system(Published: 23 October 2013)Citation: Journal of European CME 2013, 2: 22826 - http://dx.doi.org/10.3402/jecme.v2i0.22826
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