Theory of student retention in distance education

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A Seven Minute Presentation on a theory of student support for distance student retention

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1 Theories of student retention in distance education Ormond Simpson www.ormondsimpson.com AL Y033 , previously Senior Lecturer OU I ET

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2 “Theory without practice is sterile; practice without theory is blind” (Friedrich Engels) “There is nothing so practical as a good theory” (Kurt Lewin )

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3 ‘E-learning’ ? - a ‘category error’? Gilbert Ryle 1900-76

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4 “No teacher can ever be certain that their teaching will cause a learner to learn” - Ramsden (2003) Professor Paul Ramsden

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5 We need a theory of student support for retention

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6 Professor Edward Anderson 1942-2005 “ The best predictor of student retention is motivation. Retention services need to clarify and build on motivation and address motivation-reducing issues. “Most students dropout because of reduced motivation” And what sort of contact? The most effective support theory may be to address the students’ learning motivation.

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7 Carole Dweck ‘ Self Theories’ Martin Seligman ‘Positive Psychology’ Learning motivation theories John Keller ARCS Theory John Hattie ‘Self-Reporting’

Theories of intelligence:

8 8 Theories of intelligence ‘Entity’ theorists believe that their intelligence is fixed and cannot be altered through effort. ‘Incremental’ theorists’ believe that intelligence is malleable and can be changed through effort . Entity theorists will study but give up easily when they encounter difficulties or failure. Incremental theorists will keep trying despite initial difficulties or failure. “..the effects are far beyond what you might expect from the simplicity of the interventions” - Dweck

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9 The ‘Positive Psychology’ Model “Positive Psychology… is the scientific study of optimal human functioning [that] aims to discover and promote the factors that allow individuals …to thrive. “[It is the] psychology of happiness, flow, and personal strengths.” (Seligman, 1999). Dr. Ilona Boniwell

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10 The ‘Strengths Approach’ to student support an nine point plan to strengthen ‘social identity’ Emphasise the positive during initial contact Focus on existing assets & competencies Draw out past successes and high point moments Encourage ‘positive affect’ (hope and elevated thoughts) Identify underlying values, goals & motivation Encourage narration (life story, putting life in perspective, making sense of it) Identify resources, protective factors & potentials of students Validate effort rather than achievement ONLY THEN, if possible, talk about uncertainties, fears, lack of skills ( Boniwell , 2003)

Proactive Contact :

11 Proactive Contact ‘ Student self-referral does not work as a mode of promoting persistence. Students who need services the most refer themselves the least. “ Effective retention services take the initiative in outreach and timely interventions with those students.’ (Anderson, US) 11

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12 12 A theory of student support for retention? Individual Proactive Motivational ‘Proactive Motivational Support’ ( PaMS )

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'Supporting Students for Success in Online and Distance Education' (2013) - now out with Routledge http://tinyurl.com/ supporting-students 13 Website www.ormondsimpson.com

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