Preparing students for online learning is one of the most important ways to improve student retention in online courses. I often come across news/research that states online learning suffers from high dropout rates…leaving the impression that it is the medium that causes the dropouts. This is false. The problem is not the medium…it is a lack of understanding of, and focus on, the things that are unique to online learning. Obviously, when an attempt is made to replicate classrooms online, the result will not be as effective as using the Internet medium for “what it is good for”. Improving student success online has at least three components: design better materials, better trained teachers, and increase student preparedness.
I’ve posted a new article on elearnspace: Preparing Students for Elearning, summarizing last week’s discussion of the elearning noncourse.