Dropout, persistence and retention in online higher education: The case of the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya


Over the last two decades, the complex problem of high dropout rates in online higher education (OHE) has been widely investigated (Bawa, 2016), attempting to identify predictor variables and profiles of at-risk students and offer interventions designed to improve retention and completion. Contributing to the debate, this qualitative research explores dropout (and related phenomena: persistence, engagement, and retention) and its risk factors and dynamics by analyzing the lived experiences of students and faculty in a fully online open university (UOC), grounded on a literature review and various attrition models. This guiding research problem acknowledges the need to employ a multidimensional approach that takes into account the main actors involved (students, PRAs, PDCs, and tutors), the relationships between them and with the institution, and the multiplicity of factors and frameworks presented in the literature (Choi & Park, 2018). It gives special importance to time-related factors such as time-management, time-related conflicts, and procrastination; to flexibility - as the main attraction and risk for elearners; and to learning design, especially continuous assessment, as key dropout factors.

Jun 1, 2023
Doctorat en Educació i TIC
Universitat Oberta de Catalunya
Marlon Xavier
Marlon Xavier
Investigador doctoral

Investigador doctoral del programa d’Educació i TIC de la UOC.