Tag Archives: Drop-Out Rates

Preventing Online Student Dropout

Recent studies indicate that students drop out of online classes at rates 15 percent to 20 percent higher than traditional ones (Parry, 2011). Earlier this year, I completed a review of some thirty articles within the current literature on student retention in online learning, and this yielded a general set of key factors cited for dropout:

  1. Feelings of isolation
  2. Lack of faculty interaction
  3. Poor course design
  4. Lack of personal motivation or underdeveloped time management skills
  5. Communication difficulties
  6. Lack of program support and guidance
  7. Difficulty with the technology/LMS interface
  8. Individual learning preferences
  9. Substandard or inexperienced instructors
  10. 10. Falling behind and becoming overwhelmed

The following are the features that research shows are most effective at keeping students:

  • A Strong Sense of Community
  • Timely and Effective Faculty Involvement
  • Faculty Well-Trained in Online Teaching
  • Strong Courses with High Student Engagement
  • Clear Student Expectations
  • Targeting the Right Kind of Student
  • Strong Student Support Systems: Training and Advising

The secret is in the course design and the delivery: great content, well presented, with plenty of active engagement with the content, with fellow students, and with the instructor.

Send me an e-mail for a copy of my complete report.