Student persistence in open and distance learning: success factors and challenges

Au, Oliver Tat-Sheung, Li, K. and Wong, T.M. (2018) Student persistence in open and distance learning: success factors and challenges. Asian Association of Open Universities Journal, 13 (2) . pp. 191-202. ISSN 2414-6994 [Article] (doi:10.1108/aaouj-12-2018-0030)


The purpose of this paper is to identify the success factors and challenges for students studying in an open and distance learning (ODL) mode and recommend strategies for student persistence based on the findings.

Three groups of ODL students with various levels of study performance – nine high-level, nine mid-level and eight low-level students – were invited to participate in three focus group interviews. They were asked about their motivation, success factors and challenges in their studies.

The different groups of participants showed observable variations in their response. The mid-level students believed that word-by-word rote memorisation was their best strategy in preparing for examinations. The low-level students believed that they needed to master multitasking to learn well in tight schedules. All these weak student participants considered quitting at some points, but no high-level student did so. To improve student persistence, the authors focus on meeting the needs of weak students and recommend the following actions for student persistence: add a time management and study skills component to existing courses for students to practise; appoint advisors to distance learning students to help them create an appropriate study plan and acquire a sense of belonging; make learning videos short and engaging; consider adopting student leaders or peer tutors that have been used successfully in full-time study; and conduct focus periodically with students to hear their views.

This study revealed the factors contributing to student persistence in ODL for the students of various levels of study performance. The results help in formulating measures to meet the diverse needs of ODL students for persistence in their studies.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: ** From Crossref via Jisc Publications Router
** History: ppub 03-09-2018;
issued 03-09-2018.
Research Areas: A. > Work and Learning Research Centre
Item ID: 26545
Useful Links:
Depositing User: Jisc Publications Router
Date Deposited: 21 May 2019 14:43
Last Modified: 21 May 2019 14:43

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