Graduation Year

2008

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree

Ph.D.

Degree Granting Department

Adult, Career, and Higher Education

Major Professor

Jan M. Ignash, Ph.D.

Keywords

Developmental education, Distance education, Dropout, Learning style, Persistence

Abstract

Computer-based instruction including distance learning is fast becoming an integral part of higher education. Much of the current research has found that computer-based instruction is as effective as lecture-based instruction. Despite the wealth of studies that purport that students enrolled in computer-based instruction perform equally well as compared to their lecture-based counterparts, there is a high dropout rate associated with computer-based instruction including distance learning. The purpose of this study was to examine the differences in students' withdrawal and completion rates in classes delivered via different instructional formats (distance learning, hybrid, or traditional) to determine if student learning style and/or student reasons for choosing an instructional format have an effect on the dropout rate in a remedial mathematics course.

This non-experimental quantitative study employed logistic regression to estimate the probability of withdrawal from a Basic Algebra (MAT 0024) course based on student learning style, student reasons for selecting the instructional format, and CPT scores. Learning styles and their relationship to completion status within the three instructional delivery formats were examined. It was determined that those students who were enrolled in a hybrid or distance learning course had greater odds of withdrawing as compared to students enrolled in a lecture-based course. It was also determined that learning style did not impact the completion or withdrawal of students regardless of the delivery format. Student reasons for enrolling in a particular delivery method and the relationship to completion or withdrawal within the three instructional delivery formats was also examined.

It was determined that those students who enrolled in the course based upon personal factors had greater odds of completing the course without distinction to a particular instructional delivery method. Those students who enrolled in the course because of their perceived learning needs had greater odds of withdrawing from the course without distinction to a particular instructional delivery method. CPT scores and their relationship to completion or withdrawal within the three learning styles were examined. Based on the data, there is no relationship between students' CPT scores and their withdrawal or completion in a particular delivery format.

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