Assessing Retention in Online Learning: An Administrative Perspective
As the growth of online programs continues to rapidly accelerate, concern over the retention of the online learner is increasing. Educational administrators at institutions offering online courses, those fully online or brick and mortars, are eager to promote student achievement. Retention is critically important, not just for student success, but also for the success of these institutions of higher education. Models for understanding student persistence in the face-to-face environment are well established, however, many of the variables in these constructs are not present in the online environment or they manifest in significantly different ways. With attrition rates higher than in face-to-face programs, the development of models to explain online retention is considered imperative. This study moves in that direction by exploring the relationship between student demographics and interactions, and retention at a large online university. Analysis of data, which included an n of 20,569, provides illustration of the importance of transfer credit and the consistency of activity in predicting continued enrollment.
SOURCE: Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration, Volume XIV, Number II, Summer 2011