Background: Student decisions about lecture attendance are based on anticipated effect on learning. Factors involved in decision-making, the use of recorded lectures and their effect on lecture attendance, all warrant investigation.
Aim: This study was designed to identify factors in student decisions to attend live lectures, ways in which students use recorded lectures, and if their use affects live lecture attendance.
Methods: A total of 213 first (M1) and second year (M2) medical students completed a survey about lecture attendance, and rated factors related to decisions to attend live lectures and to utilize recorded lectures. Responses were analyzed overall and by class year and gender.
Results: M1 attended a higher percentage of live lectures than M2, while both classes used the same percentage of recorded lectures. Females attended more live lectures, and used a smaller percentage of recorded lectures. The lecturer was a key in attendance decisions. Also considered were the subject and availability of other learning materials. Students use recorded lectures as replacement for live lectures and as supplement to them.
Conclusions: Lectures, both live and recorded, are important for student learning. Decisions about lecture placement in the curriculum need to be based on course content and lecturer quality.