As a result of the growth in distance education, and subsequently, the growth of distance learners, it is exceedingly important, and necessary, to find ways for the institution to retain these students by identifying their needs and implementing practices that facilitate persistence (Tinto, 2012). Research shows that engagement from the institution through student services advisement (Nichols, 2010) and orientations (Braxton, et al., 2014; Nash, 2005; Radwan & Leeds, 2009; Wojciechowski & Palmer, 2005) is some of the most effective ways in which to engage, and thereby retain, students and help them persist. The retention of adult distance learners is vital to any university that depends on this population for revenue; therefore, determining the ways in which engagement assists with distance learner persistence is important for perpetuation of the institution. This study aimed to identify which engagement initiatives and practices are expected, effective, and predictive for retaining nontraditional distance learners. Identifying effective practices can help practitioners determine the ways to translate current research into effective practice for that of adult distance learners. Failure to retain any student � traditional or nontraditional - has obvious consequences, many of which are detrimental to the institution, such as reputation, loss of revenue, and cost to continuously recruit new (or more) learners. Institutional, individual, and societal benefits confirm the importance of this topic. However, it is also important to note that a higher education likely improves lives in many ways that cannot be easily quantified. Knowing this, it is necessary to identify ways to promote learner persistence and increase retention and completion.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. August 2015. Major: Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development. Advisors: Rosemarie Park, Catherine Twohig. 1 computer file (PDF); viii, 92 pages.
Rethinking Retention: Using Engagement to Increase Adult Distance Learner Persistence.
Retrieved from the University of Minnesota Digital Conservancy,
Content distributed via the University of Minnesota's Digital Conservancy may be subject to additional license and use restrictions applied by the depositor.