Drop Out Rates / Keeping Learners Online
This page provides links to some general resources on e-learning to help you understand what it is and its potential in education and training.
Articles in date order, most recent first.
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"The problem of dropout rates in eLearning programmes has been argued over at length without any consistent conclusions about the degree of the problem, or a clear understanding of what factors contribute to learners dropping out, withdrawing or not completing eLearning courses." Keith Tyler-Smith, JOLT, June 2006
Added: 2 July 2006
"This paper argues that first time eLearners often experience cognitive overload, (as described in Cognitive Load Theory), in the early stages of an online course and it is suggested that this is a likely contributor to high drop out rates, particularly in terms of those withdrawing within the first few weeks of the course start
"This is an important question, because it recognizes that all learning is not alike. Just because a learner has performed well in the classroom does not automatically mean that he or she will be successful learning online. Additional skills and competencies are required, and learners may need help adapting to the new medium." Answer Geek, Learning Circuits, January 2005
Added: 5 February 2005
Here are a few steps that can help ensure the success and motivation of your learners
"Much has been written about retention in distance learning courses. Authors have different ideas about what causes students to drop out of these courses. Some of the issues include lack of instructor training, poor course design, lack of student interaction, and personal commitments. Few actual studies have been done to provide evidence for these assumptions. This paper provides possible solutions to the problem of retention and offers suggestions for improvement in the entire field of distance education." Judy A Serwatka, International Journal of Instructional Technology and Distance Learning, January 2005
Added: 2 February 2005
"Distance learning expands access to education and training to persons who could not otherwise participate. To be effective, it must resolve the retention problem that faces all higher education programs. There are several approaches to this problem: courses that are interesting and informative, training and support for course designers and instructors, along with time and the necessary resources to adapt to online learning environments. A blended course may facilitate transition by providing some face-to-face contact."
"We don't yet have a way to download skills and knowledge directly into learners' brains. Even if we did, learners would still have to have the motivation to apply what they had learned. As it is, we must help learners develop habits and discipline to acquire the new skills and knowledge. Read this article to acquire three new tools that will help you "reload" your online learners today!"
Added: 11 November 2003
You will have to subscribe to the eLearning Guild to access this article
"If you've been following the trade journals and learning and development conferences, you've probably noticed that an awakening of sorts is going on. The fact that we are even addressing motivation as a factor in learning is a sure indication that we as a learning industry are undergoing a change after spending the past five years often force-fitting technology into our learning strategies." Paula Moreira, Chief Learning Officer Magazine, September 2003
Added: 28 September 2003
"We've been so focused on educational technology for the past five years that it's refreshing to step back and take a look at learning motivation. In order for organizational learning to happen, we must work not just on the technology and the content, but on the attitudes of managers to drive the culture of the organization to be one of support and encouragement for the learner."
"In order for online learning to be successful, developers need to create environments in which people can effectively learn. Participants need to be open to learning in this new way, and confident that their time invested in professional development is well-spent." Jennifer Hofmann, Learning Circuits, August 2003
Added: 17 August 2003
This article is Part 2 in a series outlining factors that influence the success of online learners.
"We know that learners frequently do not complete online courses. Reasons offered range from "e-Learning is e-Boring" to "they got what they needed and quit." Margaret Martinez, eLearning Developers Journal, 14 July 2003
Added: 16 July 2003
You will need to subscribe to the eLearning Guild to be able to access this article
"E-learning - at least to the extent that it is delivered in self-study format - suffers in the same way as all of its distance learning predecessors: from high drop-out rates. Although most learners start with good intentions of completing, far too high a proportion never achieve the benefits they were seeking when they were enrolled. In this article, Clive Shepherd explores whether drop-out rates are any real indicator of the success of e-learning and, to the extent that they are, what can be done to reduce them to manageable levels." Clive Shepherd, tactix, June 2003
Added: 10 June 2003
Interesting coverage of the topic of drop out rates
"Keeping learners engaged is critical to the success of any training program. Five key elements can determine how well a Web-based training program engages learners: entertainment, interaction, control, usability, and customization."
Added: 22 February 2003
"Programs designed to actively engage learners at multiple levels stand the best chance of retaining learners and achieving instructional goals."
"Virtual education is the biggest breakthrough experienced by the education system in recent times. While virtual education stands out as a solution towards elevating the "educated" status of humankind, it also falls prey to the education system's biggest problem - motivating its audience/students. Maintaining and sustaining the motivational level of e-learners is a big challenge for this type of education." Dr Kamal Kishore Jain, student affairs online, Fall 2002, Vol 3, No 4
Added: 22 January 2003
Some sound advice. The conclusion: "While students who join e-learning courses do so because of their own intrinsic motivation, a lecturer's role is crucial in maintaining and sustaining students' motivational level."
Dr Jim Food, Director of Learning, COROUS in TOJDE, April 2002
Added: 6 April 2002
This article uses this attention-grabbing headline to provide an understanding of what e-learning is really all about and why it fails in many cases. Two particular points that appealed to me were: (1) "Many aid agencies working to improve the technology in poor countries recognise that aid needs to be appropriate; to be sustainable it needs to use local materials, draw on local skills and to be in tune with the environment. In terms of e-learning much of the technology currently used is unnecessarily specialised and tends to alienate rather than include people. Some of the complex learning management systems could be seen as the aid equivalent to the $50,000 tractor in Ethiopia." (2) "There are currently 169 learning management systems for sale in the UK - and none are necessary to begin e-learning."
"Concern over quitters has online programs stepping up retention strategies" Bridget Murray, elearn Magazine, October 2001
Added: 17 October 2001
"The truth is that lack of regular face-to-face contact online means both faculty and students must work harder"
"High High dropout rates are e-learning's embarrassing secret. Here's what you can do about it.... Welcome to the problem a lot of people in the e-learning industry don't like to talk about -- high dropout rates for online courses" By Karen Frankola, Workforce, June 2001.
Added: June 2001
"Here are some strategies your company can use to help ensure a high course completion rate from Augusto Failde, senior vice president of global development at NYUonline" Workforce, June 2001
Added: June 2001
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