Proceedings of The Physiological Society

Physiology 2016 (Dublin, Ireland) (2016) Proc Physiol Soc 37, PCA112

Poster Communications

Self-learning activities improve academic outputs in a second-year course in animal physiology

T. Carbonell1, J. Blasco1, A. Ibarz1, N. Alva1, I. García Meilan1, G. Viscor1, T. Pages1, J. Fernandez-Borràs1

1. Biologia cel.lular, Fisiologia i Immunologia, Universitat de Barcelona, Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain.


  • Note the positive correlation between the score of the activities and the final grade

When the degrees of the University of Barcelona were adapted to the European Higher Education Area (EHEA), we took the challenge to develop new methodologies promoting a student-centered learning process in the course of Physiology, partly replacing the traditional classroom lectures. We consider that students are active agents for scaffolding their learning process, by searching for relevant content and solutions, making good debates and solving complex problems or case-studies, mainly by self-regulating their own learning. Nevertheless, in the Biology degree, the majority of courses are taught as classroom lectures supported by PowerPoint presentations. In the present study, we aim to explore if interventions targeting improvements in self-learning tools have a positive impact on the academic performance in a second-year course in Animal Physiology. We used the Virtual Campus-UB based on Moodle with three kinds of tasks (Lessons, Forums, and Quizzes) which provide feedback information regarding students' scores. Although all these tasks are formative assessments, to encourage the students in active learning, the activities scored up to a maximum of 5% of the final grade. The analysis of the data showed that academic success was positively associated with the accomplishment of activities (R2=0.3201). Twenty-five % of students, however, conducted no one of these optional activities. Among these students, the number of those who failed the final test increased. In addition, using Moodle as LMS, we have had complete access to the registries about how our students used these tools (only for statistical analysis). The results helped us 1) to determine the most meaningful activities, improving students' skills, as well as the ineffective actions; 2) to identify unsolved problems, the poorly learned concepts, and misconceptions. This information will be used to improve our teaching in the near future. Our findings show that recording students' activities may be useful as a predictor of their academic performances. Learning analytics, treating an enormous amount of data, can substantially benefit teachers, specially tutors, assisting their pupils to improve academic completion and social success.

Where applicable, experiments conform with Society ethical requirements