Engaging distance students in learning: What matters to students, what motivates them and how can engagement in learning be fostered?
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Retention and completion in education
AbstractThe engagement, retention and success of tertiary students in New Zealand is of strategic importance, and improving student success remains a focus of government and tertiary education organisation policy and practice. However, engaging and retaining students can be particularly challenging in a distance learning environment where students are separated from teaching and support staff and other learners. In such an environment students often report feelings of isolation, little sense of connection and belonging, and difficulty maintaining engagement in and motivation for learning. This paper reports results from a case study on first-year student engagement at a distance learning institution in Aotearoa New Zealand. Using survey and interview data, the study examined a number of aspects of student engagement: transactions within the institutional setting, including teachers' work and institutional culture; student motivation; influences external to the institution; and demographics. Findings revealed that the institution and the teachers played a significant role in whether or not students engaged in learning at optimum levels. Students' own motivation for learning also played a vital role.
CitationRoss, C. (2010). Engaging distance students in learning: What matters to students, what motivates them and how can engagement in learning be fostered? (Working Papers No. 10-3). Lower Hutt, New Zealand: The Open Polytechnic of New Zealand.
The Open Polytechnic of New Zealand