This study seeks to determine predictors of dropout from distance education since attrition rates in distance education far exceed attrition rates in classes taught in a traditional format. Ninety-four students from three community college courses were the sample for this study. In addition to completing the human subjects paperwork, the students completed two instruments: The Rotter's Internal-External Locus of Control Scale and A Student Information Sheet. A correlation and discriminant analysis were performed to identify predictors of dropout. It was determined that locus of control and source of financial assistance, and in particular self-pay, were able to predict dropout with nearly 85 percent accuracy.
Type of Material:
Online journal article
To serve as a resource for future researchers of the scholarship of distance learning, and as an aid to instructors who are involved in distance education.
Identify Major Learning Goals:
To identify predictors of non-completion in distance education programs and sift out others that did not show significant effects.
Target Student Population:
College faculty teaching in distance education programs
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills:
This is an interesting and methodologically-solid study assessing the impact of a number of variables on the likelihood of success in distance learning programs. Its strength is that it examines a variety of delivery modes: audiocassettes, interactive television, television, computer conferencing, correspondence and electronic forums.
The study is somewhat dated. It may not be easy to generalize its results to the distance education programs that have been developed since the 1990s. With the expansion of World Wide Web-based programs and students' improved access to high-speed data connections, distance education has become much more familiar to the typical student.
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool
The purpose is articulated clearly. It should be widely cited by researchers studying the development of distance education programs and the utility of various modes of delivery.
Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty
The presentation is clear and straightforward.
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