Minimising attrition: Strategies for assisting students who are at risk of withdrawal

Caroline L. Park, Beth Perry, Margaret Edwards

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Articlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


This paper explores strategies aimed at minimising attrition by encouraging persistence among online graduate students who are considering withdrawal. It builds upon earlier studies conducted by a team of researchers who teach online graduate students in health care at Athabasca University. First, in 2008-2009, Park, Boman, Care, Edwards, and Perry reviewed assumptions held related to attrition of online learners and defined key terms such as persistence and attrition. Next, Perry, Boman, Care, Edwards, and Park explored factors that influenced online students' decisions to withdraw. Reported in this paper are strategies related to course design, course delivery, and programme organisation that could reduce attrition rates. An additional section of the paper focuses on strategies to ease the re-integration of students who have withdrawn and subsequently want to return to their studies. Rovai's Composite Persistence Model and Harter and Szurminski's Project Assuring Student Success (PASS) programme are used as a framework for analysis and for generation of recommended strategies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)37-47
Number of pages11
JournalInnovations in Education and Teaching International
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb. 2011


  • Attrition
  • Online graduate students
  • Persistence
  • Reintegration
  • Withdrawal


Dive into the research topics of 'Minimising attrition: Strategies for assisting students who are at risk of withdrawal'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this