Comparing Dropouts and Persistence in E-Learning Courses

Y. Levy (USA)


Computer-mediated learning; online learning; Students' satisfaction; Academic locus of control; Completions in e learning courses; Dropouts in e-learning courses.


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, the first aim of this study is to propose 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 online learning. Results show that students' satisfaction with e-learning is a key indicator in students' decision to dropout from online learning courses. Moreover, dropout students (non-completers) reported to have significantly lower satisfaction with online learning than students who successfully completed (completers) the same online learning courses. Additionally, results of this study show that the academic locus of control, as measured here, appears to have no impact on students' decision to drop from online learning courses.

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