An increasing number of students are choosing to study online. For students from lower SES backgrounds, studying online can alleviate both financial and time burdens, allowing students to continue working and/or caring for families. For those from regional and remote areas online education plays a role in enabling regional students to access education while remaining in their communities.
Online study has also been shown to be a preferred way to access education for students with disability; while for Indigenous students who might experience of educational disadvantage, studying online has the potential to take them on a journey not previously available. And for those working and life got in the way, they can now all study online maximising employment opportunities and job security.
Online study retention
The downside, it’s tough and demanding when education is not your sole primary intent. Attrition rates for online students has been higher than for students studying on-campus, with evidence suggesting that the isolation of online study combined with the challenges of technology, academic expectations and pressure from other areas of students’ lives, are significant contributors to this.
2017 Australian Government research indicated retention and completion rates for external and online students are at least 20 per cent lower than in face-to-face study, and report online students are 2.5 times more likely than on-campus students to withdraw without a qualification.
Improving and Expanding
In spite of these challenges, the number of online programs in the education sector has increased dramatically in the last decade as more of the population recognise the importance of qualifications and upskilling.
Online is not what it used to be a decade ago and, there is evidence that a supportive and engaging online teaching and learning environment can help to mitigate against these difficulties and lead to increased student retention.
Course providers have upped their game and are producing more interesting and engaging programs using video classrooms, where lessons include greater interaction with students, animation, online student communities as well as lifting the standards of tutor presentations.
There’s no doubt the Covid pandemic resulted in a massive re-engineering of online learning. Video conferencing has provided the ‘missing face to face’ connection between student and tutor previously enjoyed by on-campus. The social connection among students, as well as between students and their instructor, is essential for quality engagement and a significant contributor to course completion.
What personality traits are best for online learning
MyCareerMatch Recruit partners with online course providers to assist prospective students choose courses to match their career aspirations. In doing this we’ve been able to assess the traits and qualities of those choosing online learning.
Of those expressing an interest to study online, 70% had persona similarities more conducive to online learning. Typically they are people who analyse their options and think issues through, control their emotions and set high standards for themselves. They think creatively. Most are talented planners with an ability to analyse and solve problems. They enjoy achieving results and are precise, accurate and detailed. Failure is not an option and this keeps them motivated and focused. They use logic to build things step-by-step, and their task-oriented approach makes them ideal for online study. Their organisation skills are perfect match for the disciplines required to take on the commitment required to succeed. And they have a confidence and determination to stay the course until graduation.
Being able to determine in advance those students who are self-motivated and those requiring additional support, is a feature of MyCareerMatch that will increase your course completion, graduation rates and student satisfaction. And by training tutors to know the personality of the student, you will create an engaging learning environment putting you streets ahead of your competitors.
For example, in partnership with Learning People, leading providers of technology courses worldwide and tech career experts, MyCareerMatch conducted workshops and training to increase the relationship interaction between the recruiter and future student, and once enrolled, between the student and tutor. Thousands of potential students have already completed the survey and Learning People trainers are using MyCareerMatch methodology across the global team to increase enrolment.
If you are providing online study, either vocational, specialty sectors or higher education, contact me Nathan Chanesman, MyCareerMatch Recruit and let’s discuss how we will help you maximise your recruitment, increase completion rates and student satisfaction.
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Minimizing Attrition in Online Degree Courses: Eliani Colferai Boton, University of New England, Armidale, New South Wales, Australia, Sue Gregory, University of New England, Armidale, New South Wales, Australia
MyCareerMatch: The results of 26,500 who completed MyCareerMatch when invited to apply for online study (CDU NextLife Finder Campaign 2015)
Interactivity, connectedness and ‘teacher-presence’: Engaging and retaining students online; Cathy Stone University of Newcastle, Australia; Matthew Springer, University of Tasmania.
Improving retention, completion and success in higher education: Higher Education Standards Panel Discussion Paper, June 2017, Australian Government, Dept of Education and Training.