An Analysis of Student Persistence in Online Education

An Analysis of Student Persistence in Online Education

Steven F. Tello (University of Massachusetts Lowell, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/jicte.2007070105


This study examines the relationship between instructional interaction and student persistence among adult students in online courses. A survey research methodology was used to examine the frequency and the method of instructional interaction in online courses, student attitudes regarding instructional interaction, and the reasons online students provide for persisting in, or withdrawing from, online courses. The results indicate that student perceptions regarding the contribution of asynchronous, discussion forum use combined with frequent use of asynchronous discussion account for 26% of the variance in course persistence rates. Consistent with the literature on adult student dropout, the findings identify additional situational and institutional barriers to persistence among students in online courses. The findings suggest that strategies to facilitate student persistence in online courses should address online instructional techniques, faculty development, technology development, and program development.

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