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Minimising Attrition: Strategies for Assisting Students Who Are at Risk of Withdrawal

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IETI Volume 48, Number 1, ISSN 1470-3297


This paper explores strategies aimed at minimising attrition by encouraging persistence among online graduate students who are considering withdrawal. It builds upon earlier studies conducted by a team of researchers who teach online graduate students in health care at Athabasca University. First, in 2008-2009, Park, Boman, Care, Edwards, and Perry reviewed assumptions held related to attrition of online learners and defined key terms such as persistence and attrition. Next, Perry, Boman, Care, Edwards, and Park explored factors that influenced online students' decisions to withdraw. Reported in this paper are strategies related to course design, course delivery, and programme organisation that could reduce attrition rates. An additional section of the paper focuses on strategies to ease the re-integration of students who have withdrawn and subsequently want to return to their studies. Rovai's Composite Persistence Model and Harter and Szurminski's Project Assuring Student Success (PASS) programme are used as a framework for analysis and for generation of recommended strategies. (Contains 1 figure.)


Park, C.L., Perry, B. & Edwards, M. (2011). Minimising Attrition: Strategies for Assisting Students Who Are at Risk of Withdrawal. Innovations in Education and Teaching International, 48(1), 37-47. Retrieved September 17, 2019 from .

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