Online Learning Leads to Higher Retention and Graduation Rates

My guess is that most anyone in higher education knows that retention is chief among the many concerns on college campuses across the country. Turns out, online learning helps.

A study by Arizona State University found, Joshua Bolkan writes in Campus Technology, that “Online courses are associated with higher retention and graduation rates, increased access and cost savings of as much as 50 percent.”

ASU examined their own institution, as well as Georgia State, the University of Central Florida, and Capture Higher Ed’s own home state Kentucky Community and Technical College System, among others.

They found many things, including this: “At the Kentucky Community and Technical College System (KCTC) … students who took at least some online courses were 18 percentage points more likely to persist and 21 points more likely to graduate, though their grades were 8 to 9 points lower, on average, than their peers who took only in-person courses.”

In at least three colleges, there was found to be a higher retention and graduation rates among students who took at least some online learning courses. For Houston Community College, retention for students taking an online or blended course was 9 to 10 percentage points higher. And UCF found that students who took 41 to 60 percent of their courses online graduated nearly half a year earlier than students who took none.

What the site Education Dive culls from this seems fair: it’s easier to digest information at a pace dictated by a student at home, and accessing a class at home is easier than getting to campus. Of course there are things to think about, as well: an online course instructor needs to be able to engage students to maintain a student’s interest.

By Sean Hill, Senior Content Writer, Capture Higher Ed