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1
'Student dropouts in distance education
- how many, who, when, what are the consequences for
them, why they dropout and ...
'Supporting Students for Success
in Online and Distance Education'
(2013) - now out with Routledge
http://tinyurl.com/
sup...
Understanding student dropout in distance education
1. How many students drop out of distance education?
2. Who drops out?...
4
1. How many students drop out?
82
39
61.5
15.7
22
5.3 2.5 0.5
14
6
0
10
20
30
40
50
60
70
80
90
100
Conventional institu...
0
10
20
30
40
50
60
70
1971
1973
1975
1977
1979
1981
1983
1985
1987
1989
1991
1993
1995
1997
1999
2001
2003
2005
2007
2009...
UKOU % graduation rates by year of entry
0
10
20
30
40
50
60
70
6
7
Early Identification of vulnerable students
‘Binary regression analysis’ - calculates a ‘predicted
probability of success’...
Most important predictors of dropout
9
2. Who drops out?
Student factors in dropout Predictive
coefficient
1. ‘Wrong’ cour...
3. When do students drop out?
10
100
62 57 52
38
43
48
7
2
5
100 students start module. At each assignment some drop out into the ‘exit’ channel.
A very fe...
Probability of students suffering depression, unemployment and
(women) partner violence, according to educational experien...
13
4 What are the consequences of dropping out
- for distance institutions?
Reputational damage
Students not re-enrolling
...
14
5. Why do students drop out?
- student-related reasons
1. Analyse the statistics
– e.g. the predictive model
2. Ask the...
15
UKOU Withdrawal questionnaires
16
UKOU Withdrawal questionnaires - responses
17
UKOU Withdrawal questionnaires - responses
18
Professor Edward Anderson
1942-2005
“The best predictor of student
retention is motivation.
“Retention services need to...
19
Professor Edward Anderson
1942-2005
‘Student self-referral does not
work as a mode of promoting
persistence.
‘Students ...
20
Seidman’s ‘Retention Formula’
Retention = EId + (E + I + C)Iv.
where Eid = early identification,
E+I+C = Early Intensiv...
The ‘Retention Formula’
Retention = AC + EId + (E + C).PaMS + ExS
1. AC = Appropriate Course Choice,
2. EId = Early Identi...
Retention Formula - term 1
AC = Appropriate Course Choice
1. Taster Packs
- samples of course content and assignments
2. S...
Appropriate Course Choice – 1. Taster Packs
23
UKOU Taster Pack contents
Course sample, specimen assignment questions,
spe...
24
Appropriate Course Choice – 2. Student reviews
25
26
Appropriate Course Choice – 3. Diagnostic quizzes
(a) Course specific
- for maths, science and technology subjects
(b) ...
HOW GOOD ARE YOUR CHANCES OF PASSING?
Start with 60 points
1.Are you male or female?
Male : Subtract 5 Female: No change
R...
How did you score?
• 100 or above: (70%+ chance of success) The outlook is very bright for
you. You’ll undoubtedly have yo...
(E + C).PaMS = Early and Continuous Proactive
Motivational Support
- taking initiative to contact individual students
inte...
30
Learning motivation
‘What do we know about motivating students to learn?’
- podcast
‘Motivating learners in open and di...
Proactive student support - evidence
Study Method Finding Notes
Rekkedahl
‘82 Norway
Postcards 46% increase in retention
C...
3232
ExS = External Support
- UKOU survey of sources of support to students
Importance to students Source
Most important
L...
33
343434
‘Student mentoring’
Students who’ve completed a course
mentoring new students on that course.
- Increased retention by 35%...
“The biggest reason for student dropout
in an institution is the institution itself”
- Johnston (2002)
36
5. Why do studen...
37
1. Poor course design
- see podcast 'Distance course design for retention‘
2. Institutional attitudes – “We must weed o...
38
Reducing student dropout
$ More funds for student support and teaching
Increases student
retention
More students
carryi...
“If a tutor phones me I love them already” - NZ student
So make individual proactive contact with your students
Thank you!...
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Student dropout in distance education - how many, who, when, what are the consequences for them, why they dropout and how do we reduce dropout?

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Ormond Simpson (former OUUK) gave a presentation about student dropout in distance education as part of the online events by expert pool Student Support within EMPOWER.

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Student dropout in distance education - how many, who, when, what are the consequences for them, why they dropout and how do we reduce dropout?

  1. 1. 1 'Student dropouts in distance education - how many, who, when, what are the consequences for them, why they dropout and how do we reduce dropout?‘ Ormond Simpson Visiting Fellow, Centre for Distance Education, University of London Previously Visiting Professor, Open Polytechnic of New Zealand Previously Senior Lecturer in Institutional Research, UK Open University September 2016
  2. 2. 'Supporting Students for Success in Online and Distance Education' (2013) - now out with Routledge http://tinyurl.com/ supporting-students 2 Website www.ormondsimpson.com - has articles, podcasts and videos
  3. 3. Understanding student dropout in distance education 1. How many students drop out of distance education? 2. Who drops out? 3. When do they drop out? 4. What are the consequences of dropping out - for students? - for distance institutions? 5. Why do students drop out? 6. So how do we reduce dropout?
  4. 4. 4 1. How many students drop out? 82 39 61.5 15.7 22 5.3 2.5 0.5 14 6 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100 Conventional institutions Distance institutions Conventional and distance graduation rates compared
  5. 5. 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 1971 1973 1975 1977 1979 1981 1983 1985 1987 1989 1991 1993 1995 1997 1999 2001 2003 2005 2007 2009 CumulativeOUGraduationratesbyyear ofentry 1971entry 1976entry 1981entry 1997entry 5 1971 - 59% 1976 - 52% 1981 - 48% 1997 - 22%
  6. 6. UKOU % graduation rates by year of entry 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 6
  7. 7. 7
  8. 8. Early Identification of vulnerable students ‘Binary regression analysis’ - calculates a ‘predicted probability of success’ for every OU student. 0 2000 4000 6000 8000 10000 12000 14000 0-10 11-20 21-30 31-40 41-50 51-60 61-70 71-80 81-90 91-100 numberofstudentsinband predicted probability of success band 8 2. Who drops out?
  9. 9. Most important predictors of dropout 9 2. Who drops out? Student factors in dropout Predictive coefficient 1. ‘Wrong’ course choice 0.77 Most important Less important 2. Low previous education 0.70 3. Ethnic minority 0.36 4. Manual occupation 0.34 5. Being male 0.16 6. Age – both young and old 0.17
  10. 10. 3. When do students drop out? 10
  11. 11. 100 62 57 52 38 43 48 7 2 5 100 students start module. At each assignment some drop out into the ‘exit’ channel. A very few re-enter the ‘progress’ channel having skipped the previous assignment. Overall dropout during one module = 45% Assignment 1 Assignment 2 Assignment 3 Progress Exit Dropout during one UKOU course module A Retention ‘Rivergram’
  12. 12. Probability of students suffering depression, unemployment and (women) partner violence, according to educational experience (Bynner, 2002) Probability of: 12 4 What are the consequences of dropping out - for students? dropouts
  13. 13. 13 4 What are the consequences of dropping out - for distance institutions? Reputational damage Students not re-enrolling for second or later years Loss of institutional income and government support E.g. The Open Universiteit Nederland could face closure because of low retention rates Open Universiteit Nederland
  14. 14. 14 5. Why do students drop out? - student-related reasons 1. Analyse the statistics – e.g. the predictive model 2. Ask them Questionnaires and focus groups
  15. 15. 15 UKOU Withdrawal questionnaires
  16. 16. 16 UKOU Withdrawal questionnaires - responses
  17. 17. 17 UKOU Withdrawal questionnaires - responses
  18. 18. 18 Professor Edward Anderson 1942-2005 “The best predictor of student retention is motivation. “Retention services need to clarify and build on motivation and address motivation- reducing issues. “Most students drop out because of reduced motivation” 6. So how do we reduce dropout? - look at students’ motivation to learn
  19. 19. 19 Professor Edward Anderson 1942-2005 ‘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 take the initiative in outreach and timely interventions.’ 6. So how do we reduce dropout? - look at students’ motivation to learn So we must do two things: 1. Ensure students are on the right course for them 2. Make proactive interventions with them
  20. 20. 20 Seidman’s ‘Retention Formula’ Retention = EId + (E + I + C)Iv. where Eid = early identification, E+I+C = Early Intensive and Continuous Iv = Intervention Dr. Alan Seidman Editor ‘Journal of College Student Retention’ 6. So how do we reduce dropout?
  21. 21. The ‘Retention Formula’ Retention = AC + EId + (E + C).PaMS + ExS 1. AC = Appropriate Course Choice, 2. EId = Early Identification of vulnerable students 3. (E + C) = (Early and Continuous) 4. PaMS = Proactive Motivational Support 6. ExS = External Support (the Simpson-Seidmann formula…?!) 21
  22. 22. Retention Formula - term 1 AC = Appropriate Course Choice 1. Taster Packs - samples of course content and assignments 2. Students’ Reviews - comments on courses they’ve taken 3. Diagnostic quizzes - course specific and generic Retention = AC + EId + (E + C).PaMS + ExS 22
  23. 23. Appropriate Course Choice – 1. Taster Packs 23 UKOU Taster Pack contents Course sample, specimen assignment questions, specimen answers and tutors’ comments
  24. 24. 24 Appropriate Course Choice – 2. Student reviews
  25. 25. 25
  26. 26. 26 Appropriate Course Choice – 3. Diagnostic quizzes (a) Course specific - for maths, science and technology subjects (b) Generic - and for humanities and social science subjects
  27. 27. HOW GOOD ARE YOUR CHANCES OF PASSING? Start with 60 points 1.Are you male or female? Male : Subtract 5 Female: No change Revised Score: points 2. How old are you? Under 30 : Subtract 13 Age 30 or above : No change Revised Score: points 3. What level is this course? Level 1: Add 23 Level 2 : Add 11 Other: No change Revised Score: points 4. What Faculty is this course? A : Add 16 D or L: Add 8 E or K: Add 7 M : Add 6 S : Subtract 3 T : Add 1 Other: No change Revised Score: points 27 Generic diagnostic quizzes
  28. 28. How did you score? • 100 or above: (70%+ chance of success) The outlook is very bright for you. You’ll undoubtedly have your share of challenges but you should be able to get things off to a good start. • 75 to 99: (50-60% chance of success) This will be a challenge you’ve taken on and it will be good to increase your point score in some way. For example think about changing to a lower level course – you can speed up later on. If you are taking more than one course think about switching to just one. • Under 75: (50% or lower chance of success) You’ll still be able succeed but if you can increase your score that would really improve your chances. You won’t want to change sex(!) but you could change to a simpler course to start, increase your current qualifications by taking a short course of some kind, and so on. 28
  29. 29. (E + C).PaMS = Early and Continuous Proactive Motivational Support - taking initiative to contact individual students interactively as early as possible. 1. Early? – because students drop out very early in their courses 2. Proactive? – because ‘we must reach the quiet student’ (Bogdan Eaton, 1997) 3. Motivational? – because students drop out through loss of motivation (Anderson) Retention = AC + EId + (E + C).PaMS + ExS 29
  30. 30. 30 Learning motivation ‘What do we know about motivating students to learn?’ - podcast ‘Motivating learners in open and distance learning: do we need a new theory of student support?‘ - article Both on www.ormondsimpson.com
  31. 31. Proactive student support - evidence Study Method Finding Notes Rekkedahl ‘82 Norway Postcards 46% increase in retention Case et al ’97 US Phone calls 15-20% increase in retention 2 - 5 calls most effective Visser ‘90 UK Postcards 27% increase in retention Small scale study Chyung ‘01 US Phone calls Dropout reduced 44% to 22% Mager ‘03 US ‘Telecounselling’ 5% increase in retention Cost-effective 625% return Simpson ‘06 UK Phone call before course start 5.04% Cost–effective 460% return Twyford ‘07 Aus. Motivational emails 11.7% increase over control Huett ‘08 US Motivational emails 23.4% increase over control Significant at 0.5% Simpson ‘01 UK Phone calls plus motivational emails 18.9% increase over control 31
  32. 32. 3232 ExS = External Support - UKOU survey of sources of support to students Importance to students Source Most important Least important From families and friends From tutors From other students From employers From the institution directly (Asbee and Simpson 2001) Retention = AC + EId + (E + C).PaMS + ExS
  33. 33. 33
  34. 34. 343434
  35. 35. ‘Student mentoring’ Students who’ve completed a course mentoring new students on that course. - Increased retention by 35% over non-mentored group (Boyle et al 1998 – joint project UKOU, KNOU and OPNZ) 35
  36. 36. “The biggest reason for student dropout in an institution is the institution itself” - Johnston (2002) 36 5. Why do students drop out? - institution-related reasons
  37. 37. 37 1. Poor course design - see podcast 'Distance course design for retention‘ 2. Institutional attitudes – “We must weed out the unfit” - see article ‘Retentioneering higher education in the UK: attitudinal barriers to addressing higher education student retention in UK universities‘ 3. Insufficient funding for student support - but there can be! – see ‘Cost benefits of student retention policies and practices‘ All on www.ormondsimpson.com 5. Why do students drop out? - institution-related reasons
  38. 38. 38 Reducing student dropout $ More funds for student support and teaching Increases student retention More students carrying on to the next year - increased student fee income A positive funding triangle?
  39. 39. “If a tutor phones me I love them already” - NZ student So make individual proactive contact with your students Thank you! www.ormondsimpson.com 39 “R = AC + EId + (E + C).PaMS + ExS” The ‘Simpson-Seidman’ formula

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