By Ormond Simpson
Open and distance learning (ODL) is now a well-established complement to traditional campus-based learning and numbers of participating students are on the rise. However, a growing concern for all those involved in recruiting and teaching in ODL is keeping these students. Retention rates for online courses are often worse than for conventional learning, and a recent study has suggested that over 70% of distance learning students drop out of courses.There is increasing recognition that student retention is the responsibility of the actual institutions running the courses rather than being out of their hands, as previously thought. Institutions need to retain greater numbers of students without compromising academic standards.Ormond Simpson provides a clear, accessible analysis of strategies for increasing retention and, crucially, provides case studies and examples to illustrate how these strategies can change institutional policy and practice.All the key issues are covered, including recruitment, retention, retrieval and reclamation.