The Student Induction to E-Learning (SIEL) project group was formed in early 2008 to develop best practices to address the increased rate of student attrition associated with e-learning.
The importance of this work lies within the continued growth in elearning on a regional and global basis, and the impending shift from classroom-based to e-learning as the predominant post-secondary education delivery model by 2015. Increasing access to higher education through e-learning has been a success story over the last 15 years or so: however, the risk of increased student attrition associated with e-learning is significantly greater than that of classroom-based education and is also perceived as one of the greatest weaknesses associated with e-learning, posing significant institutional, societal, and individual consequences.
Starting with a review of the peer reviewed literature, the SIEL project group identified best practices, sorted them into six best practice areas (BPAs), and then sought feedback from their colleagues during international conferences and through an online survey instrument. For the introductory e-learning experience, beginning with advisement and continuing through completion of the first learning assignment, six BPAs were identified as key to reducing student attrition and increasing retention:.
- Assessment and Communication of Expectations
- Recruitment and Advisement
- Learning Design and Organization
- Functional Technology
- Student Technology Literacy
- Non-Technical Support Services