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Theories of Student Support for Retention
Ormond Simpson
Visiting Fellow - University of London International Programmes
Previously Visiting Professor - Open Polytechnic of New Zealand
Previously Senior Lecturer - UK Open University
23 February 2017
2
Conventional and distance graduation rates compared
82%
39%
61%
16% 13%
5% 3% 1%
14%
6%
0%
10%
20%
30%
40%
50%
60%
70%
80%
90%
100%
Conventional institutions
Distance institutions
3
“Theory without practice is sterile;
practice without theory is blind”
(Friedrich Engels?)
“There is nothing so practical as a
good theory”
(Kurt Lewin)
Friedrich Engels
Kurt Lewin
4
Professor Michael Moore
Moore’s
‘Theory of Transactional Distance’
The isolation of distance students
(from other students, their tutors
and the institution) is a principal
factor in dropping out.
5
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 2003Professor
Edward Anderson
1942-2003
6
“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
“No teacher can ever be certain that their
teaching will cause a learner to learn”.
- Ramsden (2003)
Professor Paul
Ramsden
John Lubbock
(1834-1913)
1. What motivates distance students to learn?
2. Can we help them enhance their motivation?
3. And keep it going?
77
“People often overestimate the importance of intellectual
ability. Practice and perseverance contribute more to
accomplishment than being smart”
Hoppe and Stojanovic (2008)
7
Motivational distance
text?
Motivational distance support?
Learning motivation theories 1
‘Self-Determination Theory’
‘Achievement Goal Theory’
‘Self-Efficacy Theory
‘Interest Development Model’
‘Expectancy Value Theory’
‘Epistemological Identity’ Theory
‘Self-Concordance Model’
‘Belief in a Just World’ Theory
- and many others…
10
Four types of motivation
(Self-Concordance Model; Sheldon, 2001)
Extrinsic ( driven by outside forces)
Introjected (avoiding guilt and anxiety)
Identified (subscribing to educational values)
Intrinsic (driven by curiosity and pleasure)
Kennon Sheldon
Professor of Psychological Sciences
University of Missouri,
11
Four types of motivation
(Self-Concordance Model; Sheldon, 2001)
Extrinsic ( driven by outside forces)
Introjected (avoiding guilt and anxiety)
Identified (subscribing to educational values)
Intrinsic (driven by curiosity and pleasure)
Kennon Sheldon
Professor of Psychological Sciences
University of Missouri,
‘Self Determination Theory’
Edward Deci Richard Ryan
Intrinsic (self) motivations are more important than extrinsic motivations
- now often used in sports coaching
(Sci. Am. Mind 2016)
13
‘Self Determination Theory’
There are three innate needs for success
C = Competence – increasing competence increases motivation
A = Autonomy – control over your learning
R = Relatedness – relationship with a person who cares about your learning
Is relatedness the most difficult thing to achieve in distance education?
“The philosophers have only interpreted the world
in various ways.
The point, however, is to change it”
15
Carole Dweck
‘Self Theories’
Martin Seligman
‘Positive Psychology’
Learning motivation theories 2
John Keller
‘ARCS Theory’
John Hattie
‘Self-Reporting’
John Sweller -
‘Cognitive Load Theory’
Keller’s ARCS Theory
• Attention – getting students attention it and keeping it
- humour and empathy
• Relevance - to what students need
- reducing distraction
• Confidence - giving them confidence
- expertise and ‘approachability’
• Satisfaction in their achievement
- feedback
17
Professor John Hattie - ‘Meta-surveys’
• Student self-assessment/self-
grading
• Response to intervention
• Teacher credibility
• Providing formative
assessments
• Classroom discussion
• Teacher clarity
• Feedback
• Reciprocal teaching
• Teacher-student relationships
fostered
• Spaced vs. mass practice
• Meta-cognitive strategies
taught and used
• Acceleration
• Classroom behavioural
techniques
• Vocabulary programs
• Repeated reading programs
• Creativity programs
‘Self-reporting’ Students should know how well they’re doing
• Student prior achievement
• Self-questioning by students
• Study skills
• Problem-solving teaching
• Not labelling students
• Concept mapping
• Cooperative vs individualistic learning
• Direct instruction
• Tactile stimulation programs
• Mastery learning
• Worked examples
• Visual-perception programs
• Peer tutoring
• Cooperative vs competitive learning
• Phonics instruction
• Student-centered teaching
• Classroom cohesion
• Pre-term birth weight
• Peer influences
• Classroom management techniques
• Outdoor-adventure programs
Cognitive Load Theory (Sweller, 1998)
Transfer of learning
Initial learning goes into the working (short) memory
Needs to be transferred to long term memory
Working
memory
Long
term
memory
Learning
18
Cognitive Design Theory
1- increase the efficiency of working memory
Use worked examples.
19
Online
text
Cognitive Design Theory
2 - Reduce the working memory load
Avoid redundancy
- presenting concepts in too many ways
Online
text
podcasts
pencasts
videoclips
blogs
forums
wikis
audioclips
Cognitive Design Theory
2 - Reduce the working memory load
Avoid redundancy
- presenting concepts in too many ways
‘Course Exuberance Syndrome’
When writing a course I try to put in…
 personal experiences
 acknowledging difficulties
 feedback opportunities
 worked examples
 pictures
 jokes and cartoons,
 stories and poems
 games
- as long as they’re relevant and not redundant
2323
Self Theories – Carol Dweck
Q1. You have a certain amount
of intelligence and can’t do
much to change it
Answer True or False
Q2. Success
= X% intelligence + Y% effort
- Give values for X and Y
2424
Self Theories – Carole Dweck
Q1. You have a certain amount
of intelligence and can’t do
much to change it
Answer True or False
Q2. Success
= X% intelligence + Y% effort
- Give values for X and Y
If you said ‘True’ to 1 and X > Y
you may be an ‘entity’ theorist
If you said ‘False’ to 1 and X < Y
you may be an ‘incremental’ theorist.
2525
Theories of intelligence - Dweck
‘Entity’ theorists believe that their intelligence is fixed and
cannot be altered through effort.
‘Incremental’ theorists’ believe that intelligence is malleable
and can be changed through effort .
Entity theorists will study but give up easily when they
encounter difficulties or failure.
Incremental theorists will keep trying despite initial
difficulties or failure.
Dweck tested her theory in a New York school
“..the effects are far beyond
what you might expect from the
simplicity of the interventions”
Dweck
26
The ‘Positive Psychology’ Model
“Positive Psychology… is the psychology
of happiness, flow, and personal
strengths.” (Seligman, 1999).
Ilona Boniwell
1. Look for strengths that can overcome weaknesses
2. Praise effort rather than achievement.
(Praising achievement may harm motivation. If a student runs
into difficulties, they may assume they’ve reached the limit of
their intelligence and give up - Dweck. But if you praise effort
it’s more likely that students will continue to keep trying).
28
The ‘Strengths Approach’ to student support
- an nine point plan to strengthen ‘social identity’
1. Emphasise the positive during initial contact
2. Focus on existing assets & competencies
3. Draw out past successes and high point moments
4. Encourage ‘positive affect’ (hope and elevated thoughts)
5. Identify underlying values, goals & motivation
6. Encourage narration (life story, making sense of it)
7. Identify resources, protective factors & potentials of students
8. Validate effort rather than achievement
9. ONLY THEN, if possible, talk about uncertainties, fears, lack
of skills
(Boniwell, 2003)
Times Higher Education
2 February 2017
University of Buckingham, UK
WPI – ‘Wise Psychological Interventions’
“…..recent narrative reviews reveal numerous brief, social-
psychological interventions, designed to leverage motivational
processes that increase student learning outcomes.”
Lazowski & Hulleman Review of Educational Research (2013)
‘A mind trick that can break down your brain’s barrier to
success’ New Scientist 9 March 2016
New Scientist
9 March 2016
Meta-surveys of Wise Psychological Interventions
- in order of effectiveness
1. Transformative experiences
2. Self-determination
3. Interest Goal setting
4. Implicit theories of intelligence
5. Attribution
6. Self-confrontation
7. Possible selves
8. Multiple theoretical perspectives
9. Expectancy-value
10.Achievement goals
11.Self-affirmation
12.Need for achievement
13.Social belongingness
14.Self-efficacy
15.Achievement emotions
Lazowski and Hulleman (2015)
‘Motivation Interventions in
Education: A Meta-Analytic Review’ -
Review of Educational Research
32
Anderson - 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 take the initiative in outreach and
timely interventions with those students.’
(Anderson, US)
Summary 1
Can we enhance our students’ motivation using Cognitive Psychology?
1. Epistemological Identity - Ensuring students on right course
2. Achievement Goal Theory - Setting challenging but doable tasks
3. Self Concordance model - Making learning enjoyable - use humour
4. Keller - Being approachable, empathising with student difficulties
5. Hattie, Sweller – Much feedback and worked examples
Summary 2
Can we enhance our students’ motivation
using Social and Positive Psychology?
1. Dweck - Persuading students of the importance of effort
2. Dweck - Praising effort rather than achievement
3. Boniwell - Emphasising students’ strengths rather than weaknesses
4. Boniwell - Taking a personal interest in students
5. Deci and Ryan - Students need someone who cares about them*
6. Anderson - Being proactive and intervening
*See Raciti ‘Predicting first year student transfer intentions: Do relationships matter?’
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1441358211000954
Student motivation – the Mother Method
More research needed…
What motivates distance education tutors?
Institutional attitudes?
“The biggest barrier to increasing retention in
an institution is the institution itself”
- Johnston (Napier Univ. Scotland, 2002)
37
Barriers to increasing retention
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”
Entity theorists? 38
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”
Entity theorists?
39
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”
Incremental theorists?
40
42
Book
‘Supporting Students for
Success in Online and
Distance Education’
Routledge 2013
http://tinyurl.com/
supporting-students
Website
www.ormondsimpson.com
Quiz
Q1 What was Professor Michael Moore’s theory of distance education?
Q2 What did Professor Edward Anderson think was the most important predictor of
student retention?
Q3 What were the four types of motivation according to the Self-Concordance model of
motivation?
Q4 What were the three innate needs of Deci and Ryan’s Self Determination Theory?
Q5 What did the letters ARCS in Keller’s ARCS Theory stand for?
Q6 What did Hattie think was the most significant retention effect?
Q7 What were Dweck’s two ways that people thought about their intelligence?
Q8 Who initiated Positive Psychology?
Q9 What did Veronique Johnston think was the biggest barrier to increasing retention in
an institution?
Q10 What did I suggest were the three attitudes teachers can display to students?
Answers to Quiz
Q1 The ‘Theory of Transactional Distance’
Q2 Motivation
Q3 Extrinsic Introjected Identified Intrinsic
Q4 C = Competence A = Autonomy R = Relatedness
Q5 Attention Relevance Confidence Satisfaction
‘Q6 Self-reporting’ - Students should know how well they’re doing
Q7 Entity theorists - believe their intelligence is fixed
Incremental theorists - believe their intelligence is malleable
Q8 Martin Seligman
Q9 The institution itself
Q10 Darwinistas Fatalistas Retentioneers
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Theories of Student Support for Retention

  • 1. Theories of Student Support for Retention Ormond Simpson Visiting Fellow - University of London International Programmes Previously Visiting Professor - Open Polytechnic of New Zealand Previously Senior Lecturer - UK Open University 23 February 2017
  • 2. 2 Conventional and distance graduation rates compared 82% 39% 61% 16% 13% 5% 3% 1% 14% 6% 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100% Conventional institutions Distance institutions
  • 3. 3 “Theory without practice is sterile; practice without theory is blind” (Friedrich Engels?) “There is nothing so practical as a good theory” (Kurt Lewin) Friedrich Engels Kurt Lewin
  • 4. 4 Professor Michael Moore Moore’s ‘Theory of Transactional Distance’ The isolation of distance students (from other students, their tutors and the institution) is a principal factor in dropping out.
  • 5. 5 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 2003Professor Edward Anderson 1942-2003
  • 6. 6 “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 “No teacher can ever be certain that their teaching will cause a learner to learn”. - Ramsden (2003) Professor Paul Ramsden John Lubbock (1834-1913) 1. What motivates distance students to learn? 2. Can we help them enhance their motivation? 3. And keep it going?
  • 7. 77 “People often overestimate the importance of intellectual ability. Practice and perseverance contribute more to accomplishment than being smart” Hoppe and Stojanovic (2008) 7
  • 9. Learning motivation theories 1 ‘Self-Determination Theory’ ‘Achievement Goal Theory’ ‘Self-Efficacy Theory ‘Interest Development Model’ ‘Expectancy Value Theory’ ‘Epistemological Identity’ Theory ‘Self-Concordance Model’ ‘Belief in a Just World’ Theory - and many others…
  • 10. 10 Four types of motivation (Self-Concordance Model; Sheldon, 2001) Extrinsic ( driven by outside forces) Introjected (avoiding guilt and anxiety) Identified (subscribing to educational values) Intrinsic (driven by curiosity and pleasure) Kennon Sheldon Professor of Psychological Sciences University of Missouri,
  • 11. 11 Four types of motivation (Self-Concordance Model; Sheldon, 2001) Extrinsic ( driven by outside forces) Introjected (avoiding guilt and anxiety) Identified (subscribing to educational values) Intrinsic (driven by curiosity and pleasure) Kennon Sheldon Professor of Psychological Sciences University of Missouri,
  • 12. ‘Self Determination Theory’ Edward Deci Richard Ryan Intrinsic (self) motivations are more important than extrinsic motivations - now often used in sports coaching (Sci. Am. Mind 2016)
  • 13. 13 ‘Self Determination Theory’ There are three innate needs for success C = Competence – increasing competence increases motivation A = Autonomy – control over your learning R = Relatedness – relationship with a person who cares about your learning Is relatedness the most difficult thing to achieve in distance education?
  • 14. “The philosophers have only interpreted the world in various ways. The point, however, is to change it”
  • 15. 15 Carole Dweck ‘Self Theories’ Martin Seligman ‘Positive Psychology’ Learning motivation theories 2 John Keller ‘ARCS Theory’ John Hattie ‘Self-Reporting’ John Sweller - ‘Cognitive Load Theory’
  • 16. Keller’s ARCS Theory • Attention – getting students attention it and keeping it - humour and empathy • Relevance - to what students need - reducing distraction • Confidence - giving them confidence - expertise and ‘approachability’ • Satisfaction in their achievement - feedback
  • 17. 17 Professor John Hattie - ‘Meta-surveys’ • Student self-assessment/self- grading • Response to intervention • Teacher credibility • Providing formative assessments • Classroom discussion • Teacher clarity • Feedback • Reciprocal teaching • Teacher-student relationships fostered • Spaced vs. mass practice • Meta-cognitive strategies taught and used • Acceleration • Classroom behavioural techniques • Vocabulary programs • Repeated reading programs • Creativity programs ‘Self-reporting’ Students should know how well they’re doing • Student prior achievement • Self-questioning by students • Study skills • Problem-solving teaching • Not labelling students • Concept mapping • Cooperative vs individualistic learning • Direct instruction • Tactile stimulation programs • Mastery learning • Worked examples • Visual-perception programs • Peer tutoring • Cooperative vs competitive learning • Phonics instruction • Student-centered teaching • Classroom cohesion • Pre-term birth weight • Peer influences • Classroom management techniques • Outdoor-adventure programs
  • 18. Cognitive Load Theory (Sweller, 1998) Transfer of learning Initial learning goes into the working (short) memory Needs to be transferred to long term memory Working memory Long term memory Learning 18
  • 19. Cognitive Design Theory 1- increase the efficiency of working memory Use worked examples. 19
  • 20. Online text Cognitive Design Theory 2 - Reduce the working memory load Avoid redundancy - presenting concepts in too many ways
  • 21. Online text podcasts pencasts videoclips blogs forums wikis audioclips Cognitive Design Theory 2 - Reduce the working memory load Avoid redundancy - presenting concepts in too many ways ‘Course Exuberance Syndrome’
  • 22. When writing a course I try to put in…  personal experiences  acknowledging difficulties  feedback opportunities  worked examples  pictures  jokes and cartoons,  stories and poems  games - as long as they’re relevant and not redundant
  • 23. 2323 Self Theories – Carol Dweck Q1. You have a certain amount of intelligence and can’t do much to change it Answer True or False Q2. Success = X% intelligence + Y% effort - Give values for X and Y
  • 24. 2424 Self Theories – Carole Dweck Q1. You have a certain amount of intelligence and can’t do much to change it Answer True or False Q2. Success = X% intelligence + Y% effort - Give values for X and Y If you said ‘True’ to 1 and X > Y you may be an ‘entity’ theorist If you said ‘False’ to 1 and X < Y you may be an ‘incremental’ theorist.
  • 25. 2525 Theories of intelligence - Dweck ‘Entity’ theorists believe that their intelligence is fixed and cannot be altered through effort. ‘Incremental’ theorists’ believe that intelligence is malleable and can be changed through effort . Entity theorists will study but give up easily when they encounter difficulties or failure. Incremental theorists will keep trying despite initial difficulties or failure. Dweck tested her theory in a New York school “..the effects are far beyond what you might expect from the simplicity of the interventions” Dweck
  • 26. 26 The ‘Positive Psychology’ Model “Positive Psychology… is the psychology of happiness, flow, and personal strengths.” (Seligman, 1999).
  • 27. Ilona Boniwell 1. Look for strengths that can overcome weaknesses 2. Praise effort rather than achievement. (Praising achievement may harm motivation. If a student runs into difficulties, they may assume they’ve reached the limit of their intelligence and give up - Dweck. But if you praise effort it’s more likely that students will continue to keep trying).
  • 28. 28 The ‘Strengths Approach’ to student support - an nine point plan to strengthen ‘social identity’ 1. Emphasise the positive during initial contact 2. Focus on existing assets & competencies 3. Draw out past successes and high point moments 4. Encourage ‘positive affect’ (hope and elevated thoughts) 5. Identify underlying values, goals & motivation 6. Encourage narration (life story, making sense of it) 7. Identify resources, protective factors & potentials of students 8. Validate effort rather than achievement 9. ONLY THEN, if possible, talk about uncertainties, fears, lack of skills (Boniwell, 2003)
  • 29. Times Higher Education 2 February 2017 University of Buckingham, UK
  • 30. WPI – ‘Wise Psychological Interventions’ “…..recent narrative reviews reveal numerous brief, social- psychological interventions, designed to leverage motivational processes that increase student learning outcomes.” Lazowski & Hulleman Review of Educational Research (2013) ‘A mind trick that can break down your brain’s barrier to success’ New Scientist 9 March 2016 New Scientist 9 March 2016
  • 31. Meta-surveys of Wise Psychological Interventions - in order of effectiveness 1. Transformative experiences 2. Self-determination 3. Interest Goal setting 4. Implicit theories of intelligence 5. Attribution 6. Self-confrontation 7. Possible selves 8. Multiple theoretical perspectives 9. Expectancy-value 10.Achievement goals 11.Self-affirmation 12.Need for achievement 13.Social belongingness 14.Self-efficacy 15.Achievement emotions Lazowski and Hulleman (2015) ‘Motivation Interventions in Education: A Meta-Analytic Review’ - Review of Educational Research
  • 32. 32 Anderson - 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 take the initiative in outreach and timely interventions with those students.’ (Anderson, US)
  • 33. Summary 1 Can we enhance our students’ motivation using Cognitive Psychology? 1. Epistemological Identity - Ensuring students on right course 2. Achievement Goal Theory - Setting challenging but doable tasks 3. Self Concordance model - Making learning enjoyable - use humour 4. Keller - Being approachable, empathising with student difficulties 5. Hattie, Sweller – Much feedback and worked examples
  • 34. Summary 2 Can we enhance our students’ motivation using Social and Positive Psychology? 1. Dweck - Persuading students of the importance of effort 2. Dweck - Praising effort rather than achievement 3. Boniwell - Emphasising students’ strengths rather than weaknesses 4. Boniwell - Taking a personal interest in students 5. Deci and Ryan - Students need someone who cares about them* 6. Anderson - Being proactive and intervening *See Raciti ‘Predicting first year student transfer intentions: Do relationships matter?’ http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1441358211000954
  • 35. Student motivation – the Mother Method More research needed…
  • 36. What motivates distance education tutors?
  • 37. Institutional attitudes? “The biggest barrier to increasing retention in an institution is the institution itself” - Johnston (Napier Univ. Scotland, 2002) 37 Barriers to increasing retention
  • 38. 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” Entity theorists? 38
  • 39. 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” Entity theorists? 39
  • 40. 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” Incremental theorists? 40
  • 41.
  • 42. 42 Book ‘Supporting Students for Success in Online and Distance Education’ Routledge 2013 http://tinyurl.com/ supporting-students Website www.ormondsimpson.com
  • 43. Quiz Q1 What was Professor Michael Moore’s theory of distance education? Q2 What did Professor Edward Anderson think was the most important predictor of student retention? Q3 What were the four types of motivation according to the Self-Concordance model of motivation? Q4 What were the three innate needs of Deci and Ryan’s Self Determination Theory? Q5 What did the letters ARCS in Keller’s ARCS Theory stand for? Q6 What did Hattie think was the most significant retention effect? Q7 What were Dweck’s two ways that people thought about their intelligence? Q8 Who initiated Positive Psychology? Q9 What did Veronique Johnston think was the biggest barrier to increasing retention in an institution? Q10 What did I suggest were the three attitudes teachers can display to students?
  • 44. Answers to Quiz Q1 The ‘Theory of Transactional Distance’ Q2 Motivation Q3 Extrinsic Introjected Identified Intrinsic Q4 C = Competence A = Autonomy R = Relatedness Q5 Attention Relevance Confidence Satisfaction ‘Q6 Self-reporting’ - Students should know how well they’re doing Q7 Entity theorists - believe their intelligence is fixed Incremental theorists - believe their intelligence is malleable Q8 Martin Seligman Q9 The institution itself Q10 Darwinistas Fatalistas Retentioneers
  • 45.