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ERIC Number: ED310752
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1987
Pages: 11
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
The Discourse of Dropout in Distance Education: A Theoretical Analysis.
Munro, Jane
Research studies trying to understand, predict, and control dropout from distance education display various points of view and quite a few build on one another at a conceptual level, but their findings are rarely generalizable outside the situations in which the research is conducted. Although academics claim that new work on dropout should be based on theory appropriate to distance education, dropout is a single symptom with multiple causes, and a deductive analysis based on almost any reasonable model (let alone a fully-developed theory) is likely to explain only a small portion of dropout. An inductive approach (such as the use of grounded theory) might produce more practical information about dropouts even if it did not clarify theoretical issues in distance education. A review of the existing literature suggests that, besides the negative implications, dropout can be a healthy choice for a mobile or independent learner. Such a review raises a number of unanswered questions about dropouts in positive and negative circumstances and takes the researcher into the broader social context of education where theory from such disciplines as sociology, anthropology, political science, or economics (rather than psychology or curriculum design) might prove meaningful. By using these new frameworks to examine the nature of discourse of dropout in distance education, researchers may recognize ways to reconceptualize the problem and collect data that will speak less from the registrar's point of view and more about the experience of students. (41 references) (GL)
Publication Type: Information Analyses; Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A