Theoretical framework for adult dropout in a cyber university
Concurrent Session 9
The purpose of this study is to propose a comprehensive conceptual model for adult dropout in a cyber university and empirically test the viability of the proposed model by employing a large administrative data set in multiple degree online programs.
In 2001, the Korean government allowed to establish a private cyber university providing higher education programs via the Internet in order to fully capitalize on the advantages of distance education for adults and expand access to higher education for them. The number of cyber universities providing the four-year-course has been incresed from 9 universities in 2001 to 17 universities at present. In addition, the number of students enrolled in the cyber universities has drastically been increased from thousands of students in 2001 to 94,658 students in 2015. In spite of the quantitative growth of the Korean cyber universities, high dropout rates have been one of the most troublesome problems for them. Many administrators in the cyber universities are eager to know the reasons why their students drop out in order to establish the optimal startegies for reducing the dropout rates.
However, there are few empirical studies on factors affecting adult distance learners' decision to drop out with enough sample sizes to generalize the findings and a complete data set in multiple online courses or programs addressing a variety of subject matters (Deschacht & Goeman, 2015). In order to fortify the knowledge base about factors related to adult learners' decision to drop out, the current study focuses on proposing a new comprehensive conceptual model for adult dropout in a cyber university and empirically testing the viability of the proposed model by employing a large administrative data set in multiple degree online programs.
The research questions addressed in this study are as follows:
1. Do the dropouts and the persistent cyber university students show differences in their individual factors, external factors, and internal factors?
2. What factors are significant to predict adult students’ decision to drop out of the degree online program?