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Predicting Persistence in Distance Learning Programs

Mid-Western Educational Research Meeting,


A survey instrument was designed and administered to a population of currently enrolled and dropout adult students in a post-baccalaureate distance learning program with an individual learner focus. The sample consisted of all actively enrolled students (179) and all students who had been admitted to the program since the program's inception who withdrew before program completion (216), for a total of 395 persons. Fifty percent of the sample (198) responded to a mailed survey. The data from the survey were used to test a predictive model developed to examine the important parameters in adult student persistence in distance learning programs. The independent variables in the model were significant in predicting persistence, explaining 23 percent of the variance in persistence. Univariate tests revealed that intrinsic benefits, age, and level of student ease with individual learning were significant factors. Intrinsic benefits related to enhanced performance and satisfaction on the job. Extrinsic benefits, which were described as enhanced salary and career mobility, were not significant factors related to persistence. Adults in this study appear to be significantly motivated by intrinsic job-related benefits to persist in distance learning programs, with an individual learner focus. (Contains 24 references.) (Author/KC)


Fjortoft, N.F. (1995). Predicting Persistence in Distance Learning Programs. Presented at Mid-Western Educational Research Meeting 1995. Retrieved December 9, 2022 from .

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