E-Learning is becoming an integral part of undergraduate medicine, with many curricula incorporating a number of online activities and resources, in addition to more traditional teaching methods. This study examines physical attendance, online activity, and examination outcomes in a first-year undergraduate medical program. All 358 students who completed the Alimentary System module within the first semester of the program were included, 30 of whom were repeating the year, and thus the module. This systems-based, multidisciplinary module incorporated didactic lectures, cadaveric small group tutorials and additional e-Learning resources such as online histology tutorials. Significant differences were demonstrated in physical attendance and utilization of online resources between repeating students and those participating in the module for the first time. Subsequent analyses confirmed that physical attendance, access of online lecture resources, and utilization of online histology tutorials were all significantly correlated. In addition, both physical attendance and utilization of online resources significantly correlated with summative examination performance. While nonattendance may be due to a variety of factors, our data confirm that significant differences exist in both physical attendance and online activity between new entrants and repeating students, such that all students repeating a module or academic year should be routinely interviewed and offered appropriate supports to ensure that they continue to engage with the program. While the development of complex algorithmic models may be resource intensive, using readily available indices from virtual learning environments is a straightforward, albeit less powerful, means to identify struggling students prior to summative examinations. Anat Sci Educ. © 2016 American Association of Anatomists.
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