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Distance Education

Title: An Investigation of Hope, Academics, Environment and Motivation Predictors of Persistence in Higher Education Online Programs
Author: Bruce A. Holder
Status: Available

Retention rates in distance education programs are frequently lower than in traditional brick-and-mortar institutions. Predictors of persistence previously found useful in distinguishing successful from unsuccessful distance learners were assembled in a 60-item survey. The survey was completed by 259 learners enrolled in associate's, bachelor's, or master's level distance learning courses in accounting, business administration, information services, criminal justice, nursing, management, and education at a mid-western university. The survey measured variables related to academics, environment, motivation and hope as predictors of persistence, where persistence was defined as continuing beyond the first three classes in one of the three degree-granting programs. Persisters (N=209) tended to score higher on environmental measures of Emotional Support, Self-Efficacy, and Time and Study Management than non-persisters (N=50). Surprisingly, high scores on a measure of Learner Autonomy (independent learning) were associated with non-persistence in the online programs. The measures of academics, motivation, and hope were not significantly predictive of persistence. The findings were interpreted in the context of the cohort model used in the online programs attended by the students surveyed in the study.

Title: Strategies for Increasing Online Student Retention and Satisfaction
Author: Christopher Hill
Status: Available

Despite the tremendous growth of distance education, retention remains its Achilles' heel. Estimates of the failed retention rate for distance education undergraduates range from 20 to 50 percent. Distance education administrators believe the failed retention rate for online courses may be 10 to 20 percent higher than for face-to-face courses.

As an increasing number of colleges and universities identify online education as a critical component to their long-term strategy, the issue of retention can no longer be ignored. It is mandatory for everyone who touches the distance learner to understand why these students leave their online courses, and what it will take to keep them there.

Featuring a collection of top articles from Distance Education Report, this new Faculty Focus special report provides practical strategies for improving online student retention, engagement and satisfaction. Articles include:

11 Tips for Improving Retention of Distance Learning Students

Understanding the Impact of Attrition on Your School

Taking a Holistic View of Student Retention

Eight Suggestions to Help You Get Your Retention Act Together Now

Online Mentoring Builds RetentionNine Truths about Recruitment and Retention

Finding Helpful Patterns in Student Engagement

With the strategic importance of distance education courses on the rise, this report will help you understand the key variables that impact the retention of your web-based students and adopt proactive strategies proven to mitigate potential retention problems.

Title: The Efficacy (and Inevitability) of Online Learning in Higher Education
Author: Wendy Rickard
Status: Available


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