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RIDE2013 presentation: Is distance learning failing its students?

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Presentation from 'Enhancing the student experience' workshop at the CDE’s Research and Innovation in Distance Education and eLearning conference, held at Senate House London on 1 November 2013. Conducted by Ormond Simpson (HE consultant, Visiting CDE Fellow). Audio of the session and more details can be found at www.cde.london.ac.uk.

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RIDE2013 presentation: Is distance learning failing its students?

  1. 1. RIDE 2013 Student Motivation and Retention Ormond Simpson Adapted from „Student retention in distance education - are we failing our students?‟ – tbp Open Learning November 2013
  2. 2. 100 90 80 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0 82 Conventional institutions Distance institutions 61.5 39 15.7 22 14 5.3 2.5 0.5 6 Conventional and distance graduation rates compared 2
  3. 3. The „Distance Education Deficit‟ The „DED‟ 3
  4. 4. What happens to students who dropout? - effects of dropout on full-time students in the UK Probability of: dropouts Probability of suffering depression, unemployment and (women) partner violence, according to educational experience (Bynner, 2002) 4
  5. 5. Effects of dropout on distance institutions Students drop out of their first module Institution loses income – is unable to invest in better student support Students do not re-enrol Institution loses re-enrolment fees 5
  6. 6. Moore‟s „Theory of Transactional Distance‟ Professor Michael Moore The isolation of distance students (from other students, their tutors and the institution) is a principal factor in dropping out. 6
  7. 7. Proactive Contact “Student self-referral does not work as a mode of promoting persistence. „ “Students who need services the most refer themselves the least. “ Effective retention services Professor Edward Anderson 1942-2005 take the initiative in outreach and timely interventions with those students” 7 7
  8. 8. Importance of learning motivation “The best predictor of student retention is motivation. Retention services need to clarify and build on motivation and address motivation-reducing issues. “Most students dropout because of reduced motivation” (Anderson, San Diego, 2003) 8
  9. 9. „E-learning‟ ? - a „category error‟? Gilbert Ryle 1900-76 9
  10. 10. „E-learning‟ ? or „E-teaching‟ ? 10
  11. 11. “No e-teacher can ever be certain that their teaching will cause a learner to e-learn” Professor Paul Ramsden - Ramsden (2003 - paraphrased) 11
  12. 12. Teaching „[Teaching] that does not consider motivation... may result in little improvement‟ Gibbs and Morgan BJET, (1982 - paraphrased) 12
  13. 13. “The important thing is not so much that every child should be taught, as that every child should be given the wish to learn.” - Lubbock (1834-1913) Do we spend too much time on teaching and not enough on motivating students to learn? 13
  14. 14. Student support needs to be…? Proactive Motivational Individual and Interactive „Proactive Motivational Support‟ („Appreciative Advising‟ or „Strengths Approach‟) 14
  15. 15. Learning motivation theories 2 John Keller – ARCS Theory Martin Seligman – ‘Positive Psychology’ Carole Dweck – ‘Self Theories’ John Hattie – „Self–Reporting‟ - and others 15
  16. 16. Cost benefits of retention If F = students fee per year, S = institutional expenditure per student, V = total institutional overhead then if the number of students in year 1 is N1 and in year 2 is N2 Income Year 1 = N1F – (N1S + V) Income Year 2 = N2F – (N2S + V) Reduction in income due to student dropout between years = N1F – (N1S + V) – [N2F – (N2S + V)] = (N1 – N2)(F – S) Then if there is a retention activity costing £P per student it will cost N1P. If that increases retention by n students so that N2 becomes N1 + n then the reduction in income is now: [N1 – (N2 + n)](F - S) So the reduction is itself reduced making a saving of (N1 – N2)(F – S) – {[N1 – (N2 + n)](F - S)} = n(F – S) For the retention activity to be self-supporting n(F – S) > N1P Or np > 100P/(F – S) where np is the per cent increase in retention For example P = £10 F = £2500, S = £1000 then np > 100x10/(2500-1000) = 0.67% So if a retention activity costing £10 per student produces an increase in retention of more than 0.67% it will be self-supporting 16
  17. 17. Funding learner support £ Fund motivational student support Generates increased student fee income from re-enrolments Increases student retention 17
  18. 18. Barriers to increasing retention “The biggest barrier to increasing retention - is the institution itself” - Johnston (Napier University 2002) Institutional attitudes 18
  19. 19. Attitudes to student retention 1 The „Darwinistas‟ Students drop out because they're not intelligent enough, unmotivated or lazy. “We‟re here to weed out the unfit” 19
  20. 20. Attitudes to student retention 2 The Fatalistas Students dropout for reasons beyond our control “Students are doomed to pass or fail and there‟s not much we can do about it” 20
  21. 21. Attitudes to student retention 3 The „Retentioneer‟ Students most often dropout because of lack of proactive support. “We should help students be as successful as they can be” 21
  22. 22. 22
  23. 23. „Educational Passchendaelism‟?
  24. 24. 'Supporting Students for Success in Online and Distance Education' (2013) - now out with Routledge http://tinyurl.com/ supporting-students www.ormondsimpson.com 24

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