Evasion from internet-based courses: exploring explanatory variables

There are few studies on the evaluation of distance courses, especially dropout rates, in spite of their importance as a tool to develop human competences for the work. The purpose of the present paper is to identify variables that explain dropout rates in a free distance course offered through Internet at national level. In this study we consider dropout when the student quits definitely the course at any moment. The antecedent variables included demographic data and the use of electronic resources. We choose the analysis of logistic regression according to the categorical nature of the criterion variable (those who finished versus those who did not finish the course). The results show that students who did not finish the course are those who are not inclined to use the electronic resources of interactivity (notice boards, chats, exchange of electronic messages). The theoretical and methodological implications of the conclusions are discussed, as well as the need to include motivational, cognitive and contextual variables, and their possible interactions, in multivariate models explaining dropout.

Dropout; individual characteristics; learning resources using Internet; distance training evaluation; training using Internet


Fundação Getulio Vargas/Escola de Administração de Empresas de São Paulo Av. 9 de Julho, 2029 - Bela Vista, 01313-902 - São Paulo - SP - Brasil, Tel.: +55 11 3799-7999, Fax: +55 11 3262-3975 - São Paulo - SP - Brazil
E-mail: rae@fgv.br