Factors of dropout/retention for distance education students at the National Open University of Taiwan
Sheng-mei Jenny Wang, The Ohio State University, United States
Doctor of Philosophy, The Ohio State University . Awarded
The purpose of this descriptive study was to identify factors related to dropout/retention for distance education students in order to identify variables which might promote participation through completion. The major focus of the study was to document the distance education students' learning progress and to identify variables that relate to their decisions for dropping out or staying in the program. Hence, providing insight into variables which might help to increase the retention and successful completion of all students.
The participants in the study were undergraduate students who originally enrolled in the distance education undergraduate program during the fall semester of 1994 at the National Open University of Taiwan. A total of three hundred and seventy-five students randomly selected throughout mainland Taiwan were asked to participate in the study, three hundred and four (81.07%) students returned usable questionnaires.
The instrument used in this research was a mailed questionnaire. The questionnaire was developed to provide a framework for investigating the factors of dropout or retention for distance education students. This study examined several factors as follows: (1) emotional encouragement (including enrollment attribution, study encouragement, and family support), (2) external attribution (including insufficient time, events hinder study, distractions, and potential dropout), (3) motivation (both intrinsic and extrinsic), and (4) interaction with the teacher/institution and perceptions of the current program. Participants were also asked to provide the demographic information.
The key factors which related to dropout or retention decisions for undergraduate distance education students found for this study are as follows. (1) demographic variables (including age, number of semesters enrolled, grade performance, salary, gender, occupation, education, and sponsorship), (2) goal commitment (including intrinsic motivation), (3) social integration (including insufficient time for study, events hinder study, and potential dropout), and (4) academic integration (positive interaction with instructors/institution and negative impression of the current program).
Wang, S.m.J. Factors of dropout/retention for distance education students at the National Open University of Taiwan. Doctor of Philosophy thesis, The Ohio State University.
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