The impact of different modalities on student retention and overall engagement patterns in open online courses

Kolbrún Friðriksdóttir*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This article presents an analysis of tracking data collected over eight years on 43,000 users on Icelandic Online (IOL), seven open, guided online courses in Icelandic as a second language. The main objective in this study is to (a) map out retention for all the IOL courses, (b) compare retention on the same course delivered in three different modes; blended learning mode, distance learning mode, and self-directed mode, and (c) to investigate overall engagement patterns on IOL. The findings reveal low completion rates that vary by mode of delivery, identifying blended learning mode as most effective in retaining students. The results also reveal regular attrition patterns across all modes of delivery, with sharp drop-outs initially and concentrations of drop-outs at certain junctures in the courses. The drop-out patterns revealed in this study called for a re-evaluation of earlier parameters by which retention is measured, and especially what it means to ‘complete a course’. Instead of considering course completion in light of 100% coverage, the findings show considerably higher retention on IOL when the parameters for course completion are adjusted to for instance 90% coverage of course content.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)53-71
Number of pages19
JournalComputer Assisted Language Learning
Volume31
Issue number1-2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.

Other keywords

  • different modes of delivery
  • Icelandic Online
  • student retention
  • Tracking data

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