Angelino, Williams & Natvig

Strategies to Engage Online Students and Reduce Attrition Rates

Lorraine M. Angelino, Clemson University
Frankie Keels Williams, Clemson University
Deborah Natvig, Lander University


Attrition continues to be a major issue in higher education. Attrition rates for classes taught through distance education are 10 – 20% higher than classes taught in a face-to-face setting. Educators should engage students early and often, using different learning strategies customized to the class content and the students’ pre-existing knowledge. The goal for the professor is to develop relationships with the students such that they feel comfortable in the environment. The professor should facilitate learner-learner integration and collaboration so that they will learn from one another and expand their knowledge base together. Through an integrative literature review, this article presents key concepts in online learning and a review of different methods of engaging students with the goals of enhancing the learning process and reducing attrition rates.


Distance education, attrition, retention, engage, integration, persistence, online, learning, community, asynchronous

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