Lecture absenteeism is a widespread issue and has been reported for a large range of university disciplines. The aim of this study was to describe face-to-face lecture attendance within a Bachelor of Paramedicine cohort at a large Australian university and explore associated factors.
A sequential mixed method study was undertaken using lecture attendance counts, a cross-sectional questionnaire and semi-structured interviews. Attendance was recorded at four time points throughout one semester. The Lecture Attendance Scale, a standardised 34-item questionnaire with a 7-point Likert rating scale, was used to examine reasons behind students’ choice to attend lectures or not, followed by further exploration via semi-structured interviews.
Lecture attendance ranged from 30% to 76%, with a mean of 49.2%. On analysis of the questionnaire, eight factors were identified, and these were largely supported by the interview data.
High levels of lecture attendance were not observed. This study suggests that the decision to attend a lecture can be complex and is influenced by a range of student and organisation-related factors. Understanding and utilising this information to modify and improve healthcare curricula delivery is vital, especially where there may be an association between attendance and the development of clinical skills, and professional attitudes and qualities. This is especially important in healthcare education in the post-COVID-19 pandemic era where the value of in-person education will continue to be examined.
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