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Attrition in the Digital Age: Reminders from the Literature


Reed, K and Wise, N and Tynan, B and Bossu, C, Attrition in the Digital Age: Reminders from the Literature, Outlooks and Opportunities in Blended and Distance Learning, IGI Global, B Tynan, J Willems and R James (ed), USA, pp. 279-293. ISBN 9781466642058 (2013) [Research Book Chapter]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2013 IGI Global

DOI: doi:10.4018/978-1-4666-4205-8.ch020


Distance education (learning and teaching by distance modes of information exchange) is often characterised by having higher attrition rates (often labelled as "drop-out" or "withdrawal") compared to traditional face-to-face (or "on-campus") education. It has been claimed that no area of research in distance education has received more attention; such is the concern surrounding attrition. This chapter suggests that a holistic understanding of the numerous, complex, and interlinked factors that may contribute to a learner choosing to discontinue their studies continues to elude researchers. Furthermore, attrition may not always be a negative outcome; for example, a learner may have achieved the desired skill set from their studies. In the current higher education climate it is imperative for universities to maintain student enrolments. Attrition directly impacts upon wasted expenditure and loss of revenue for an institution. Additionally, withdrawing from tertiary studies can have consequences for the distance learner. This chapter explores underlying concerns and identify key questions and gaps regarding attrition in distance education for the digital age.

Item Details

Item Type:Research Book Chapter
Research Division:Education
Research Group:Education systems
Research Field:Education systems not elsewhere classified
Objective Division:Education and Training
Objective Group:Schools and learning environments
Objective Field:Policies and development
UTAS Author:Bossu, C (Dr Carina Bossu)
ID Code:94959
Year Published:2013
Deposited By:Curriculum and Academic Development
Deposited On:2014-09-22
Last Modified:2017-12-14

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