Effective Student Preparation for Online Learning

Maggie McVay Lynch


Much anecdotal information abounds on distance learning listservs and in interviews regarding high dropout rates in online courses and the lack of student re-enrollment following participation in an online course. During 1999 and 2000 I studied this phenomena in a small, private, urban university composed of roughly 5,000 students. This article presents my findings and provides one perspective on how effective creation and implementation of a required online student orientation course made a significant difference in student success and re-enrollment in Web-based learning.



Students enrolled in the online courses felt disconnected from the university and the domain of online learning was new to the students.
An online orientation was created to: create opportunities for interaction, provide skill practices and set student expectations.
After the orientation was implemented students demonstrated an increase in their technology skills, an increase in independent, self-directed learning, an ability to communicate effectively, and the attrition rate was reduced.
While the sample size was small, this study shows the importance of orientations and why they are considered a high-impact practice for retention.

APA Citation

Lynch, M. M. (2001). Effective student preparation for online learning. The Technology Source, 6.

About the Study

Links to Article https://scholar.google.com/scholar?cluster=8281964792081445913&hl=en&as_sdt=0,50
Mode Online
Publication Type Journal Article
In Publication The Technology Source
Type of Research Mixed methods
Research Design Ethnography
Intervention/Areas of Study Other
Level of Analysis Student-level
Specific Populations Examined
Peer-Reviewed Unknown
Specific Institutional Characteristics of Interest
Specific Course or Program Characteristics
Outcome Variables of Interest Retention
Student Sample Size 0-99
Citing Articles https://scholar.google.com/scholar?cites=8281964792081445913&as_sdt=5,50&sciodt=0,50&hl=en