An investigation of hope, academics, environment, and motivation predictors of persistence in higher education online programs
Bruce A. Holder, Northcentral University, United States
Northcentral University . Awarded
Retention rates in distance education programs are frequently lower than in traditional brick-and-mortar institutions. Predictors of persistence previously found useful in distinguishing successful from unsuccessful distance learners were assembled in a 60-item survey. The survey was completed by 259 learners enrolled in associate's, bachelor's, or master's level distance learning courses in accounting, business administration, information services, criminal justice, nursing, management, and education at a mid-western university. The survey measured variables related to academics, environment, motivation, and hope as predictors of persistence, where persistence was defined as continuing beyond the first three classes in one of the three degree-granting programs. Persisters (N = 209) tended to score higher on environmental measures of Emotional Support, Self-efficacy, and Time and Study Management than non-persisters (N = 50). Surprisingly, high scores on a measure of Learner Autonomy (independent learning) were associated with non-persistence in the online programs. The measures of academics, motivation, and hope were not significantly predictive of persistence. The findings were interpreted in the context of the cohort model used in the online programs attended by the students surveyed in the study.
Holder, B.A. An investigation of hope, academics, environment, and motivation predictors of persistence in higher education online programs. Ph.D. thesis, Northcentral University.
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