Distance and Online Learning (Formation À Distance et En Ligne or FADEL) is like taking a trip abroad for the first time. Every trip requires adaptation (itinerary, travel, stay) to ensure that everything goes smoothly. University education also requires students to adapt to various changes. For some travelers, travel is not without risks: theft, accidents, early return, etc. Likewise, certain obstacles during FADEL studies (deficient learning strategies, difficult environmental conditions, problems adapting to the pedagogical organization and support methods) can have a definite impact on students at risk of dropping out of their studies. So how can universities reduce these barriers so that at-risk students complete the journey to graduation?
How can universities reduce the barriers of the journey to graduation?
In Québec, FADEL has become an important component of university course offerings and even more so with the pandemic. However, studies indicate that the dropout rate for FADEL students is higher than for on-campus studies. Why do these students drop out? The reasons are many and varied, as are the factors that have been analyzed over the past forty years. A growing number of studies conclude that it is difficult to identify predictive factors without a holistic view of the problems and obstacles encountered by those who drop out.
Given this context, our study examined the interrelationship of a multitude of factors that have been identified as influencing withdrawal from a course or failure to re-enrol after two study sessions in a FADEL context, through seven different statistical analyses that identified certain factors on which authorities (government and universities) can act to reduce the number of dropouts from FADEL courses and programs.
A broader knowledge of the phenomenon of dropping out of FADEL led to the formulation of action proposals to rethink certain governmental and institutional practices that affect both students and pedagogical organization and support methods in order to promote student perseverance and improve graduation rates.
Main researcher: Louise Sauvé, TÉLUQ
Original title: Regard des apprenant.es universitaires sur les modes d’organisation et d’encadrement pédagogique en formation à distance et en ligne