Does the use of online self-marking coursework eLearning tool improve the performance of undergraduate biochemistry module results?

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review


Online learning management systems are now relied upon for undergraduate teaching, yet the integration of eLearning into the students learning experience has been identified as a major pitfall [1]. In a retrospective cohort study we investigated the impact on introducing an eLearning tool on first year Biochemistry module for Biomedical Science and Biological sciences undergraduate courses at the University of Brighton.
The First year module ‘Introduction to Biochemistry and Bioanalytical Techniques’ (BY152) is studied by Biomedical Scientists and Biological Science students to provide fundamental concepts they require for their respective courses. In 2019-20, a new eLearning online assessment was introduced using ‘Learning Sciences®’ based on individual results from enzyme kinetic practical and the calculations to draw a Lineweaver Burk plot. Here the students attended their laboratory as in previous years, and instead of completing a standard proforma where the students performed a series of complex calculations based on their own individual data. As students’ progress through the questions and calculations, the interactive activity enabled the students to learn from their initial mistakes, gain feedback and improve on subsequent questions. Each individual student was therefore enabled to learn and improve as the assessment continued.
Introduction of new teaching and assessment methods dramatically increased the proportion passing on first sitting to 83.4 % (2018-19 cohort; 219 students), to 91.5% (2019-20 cohort; 202 students). A significant improvement in overall mark for the cohort is demonstrated; the average mark 62.5% (2018-19 cohort) improved to 79.9% (2019-20 cohort), which further contributed to the increased pass mark exhibited on the module; average overall exam mark was increased from 51.6 % (2018-19 cohort) to 56.6% (2019-20 cohort). Module valuation feedback indicated a high level of student satisfaction: ‘The smart worksheets were excellent tools in helping me learn the content as they gave me constructive feedback and gave good reasons for why an answer might be incorrect’.
While similar responsive learning has been previously published on learning of biochemical pathway [2], this is the first report showing Learning Science® use of smart worksheets to improve learning of enzyme kinetics. Improvement in overall pass rates and passing the module on first sitting can be attributed to step wise changes introduced to the biochemistry module including self-marking SMART worksheets that improved the usage of feedback and learning experience for students and can be used to improve assessment in other similar laboratory based assessments.

[1] Back, D. A., Behringer, F., Haberstroh, N., Ehlers, J. P., Sostmann, K., & Peters, H. (2016). Learning management system and e-learning tools: an experience of medical students' usage and expectations. International journal of medical education, 7, 267–273.
[2] Roesler, W.J., Dreaver-Charles, K. (2018). Responsive eLearning exercises to enhance student interaction with metabolic pathways. Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Education, vol 46, Iss3, p223-229
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 9 Sept 2021
EventPharmacology 2021: today's science, tomorrow's medicines - Online, United Kingdom
Duration: 7 Sept 20209 Sept 2021


ConferencePharmacology 2021
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
OtherConference celebrating the 90th anniversary of the British Pharmacological Society
Internet address


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