The effect of tutor-specific and other motivational factors on student retention on Icelandic Online

Kolbrún Friðriksdóttir*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


This article presents an analysis of tracking and survey data collected over eight years on 400 users of one of seven Icelandic Online (IOL) courses: IOL 2; an open online program in Icelandic as a second language. The course is offered in three delivery modes; blended, distance, and open self-directed mode. This article introduces the second phase of a three-tiered mixed-method study and follows up previous findings on IOL that drew on tracking data from 43,000 learners, which revealed overall low completion rates and that the blended mode is more effective in retaining learners than other modes (Friðriksdóttir, 2018). The main goal of the current study is to identify factors which may affect student retention on IOL, and which may explain why the blended mode is more effective. This study attempts to assess whether (a) the initial goal to complete a course and (b) certain tutor-specific factors influence retention, and also to investigate (c) self-reported motives that drive learners towards completing. The findings reveal that the intent to complete is a significant predictor of course completion and that the majority of blended learners had the initial goal of completing. Furthermore, the study illuminates that most of the learners in the tutorial modes report that tutor-specific factors were important in motivating them. Finally, course completers report diverse reasons for completion; the majority of the blended learners are driven in their goal to complete by the credits offered.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)663-684
Number of pages22
JournalComputer Assisted Language Learning
Issue number5-6
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The author would like to thank the anonymous reviewers for their careful attention to her manuscript and their insightful comments and suggestions. She also wishes to express her appreciation to the students on IOL 2 who participated in the study. Finally, she would like to thank her advisor, Birna Arnbjörnsdóttir, for her guidance and feedback.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.

Other keywords

  • Icelandic Online
  • initial goal
  • reason for course completion
  • Retention
  • tutor-specific factors


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