CEC Faculty Articles

Title

Comparing dropouts and persistence in e-learning courses

Document Type

Article

Date

2-1-2007

Publication Title

Computers & Education

ISSN or ISBN

0360-1315

Volume

48

Issue

2

First Page

185

Last Page

204

Description

Several studies have been conducted related to dropouts from on-campus and distance education courses. However, no clear definition of dropout from academic courses was provided. Consequently, this study proposes a clear and precise definition of dropout from academic courses in the context of e-learning courses. Additionally, it is documented in literature that students attending e-learning courses dropout at substantially higher rates than their counterparts in on-campus courses. Little attention has been given to the key factors associated with such substantial difference. This study explores two main constructs: (1) academic locus of control; and, (2) students’ satisfaction with e-learning. Results show that students’ satisfaction with e-learning is a key indicator in students’ decision to dropout from e-learning courses. Moreover, dropout students (non-completers) reported to have significantly lower satisfaction with e-learning than students who successfully completed (completers or persistent students) the same e-learning courses. Additionally, results of this study show that the academic locus of control appears to have no impact on students’ decision to drop from e-learning courses.

DOI

10.1016/j.compedu.2004.12.004

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