Home > Archive > 2023 > Volume 13 Number 9 (Sep. 2023) >
IJIET 2023 Vol.13(9): 1372-1382
doi: 10.18178/ijiet.2023.13.9.1940

Student Retention in Fully Online Programmes at Two South African Universities

Kimera Moodley*, Mari van Wyk, Donald Tive, Izak van Zyl, and Johannes Cronje

Manuscript received March 23, 2023; revised April 28, 2023; accepted May 19, 2023.

Abstract—Literature indicates that low retention rates are evident in online modules and programmes. However, a much higher student retention rate than anticipated was observed in two fully online programmes at two South African universities. To explore this retention phenomena, a non-experimental quantitative study was done. The study uses descriptive statistics to identify trends and patterns in student retention and applies non-parametric statistics to test the significance of the observed patterns. Typically, students in a fully online carousel model programme drop out after the first module, specifically in the first two weeks of the module. After the third module, student retention stabilises. Similar patterns are visible in the year model, where students typically drop out within the first three months of their first year. Dropout continues in the second year, resulting in two distinct linear phases of dropout. However, in year 3, approximately 50% of the retained students continued. Findings reveal critical dropout periods. Further studies can be conducted to determine the causes of dropout so that measures can be implemented to improve student retention in higher education.

Index Terms—Dropout, higher education, online learning, South Africa, student retention

Kimera Moodley, Mari van Wyk, and Donald Tive are with the Directorate of Comprehensive Online Education Services, University of Pretoria, South Africa.
Izak van Zyl and Johannes Cronje are with the Cape Peninsula University of Technology, South Africa.
*Correspondence: kimera.moodley@up.ac.za (K.M.)


Cite: Kimera Moodley*, Mari van Wyk, Donald Tive, Izak van Zyl, and Johannes Cronje, "Student Retention in Fully Online Programmes at Two South African Universities," International Journal of Information and Education Technology vol. 13, no. 9, pp. 1372-1382, 2023.

Copyright © 2023 by the authors. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

General Information

  • ISSN: 2010-3689 (Online)
  • Abbreviated Title: Int. J. Inf. Educ. Technol.
  • Frequency: Monthly
  • DOI: 10.18178/IJIET
  • Editor-in-Chief: Prof. Jon-Chao Hong
  • Managing Editor: Ms. Nancy Y. Liu
  • Abstracting/ Indexing: Scopus (CiteScore 2022: 2.0), INSPEC (IET), UGC-CARE List (India), CNKI, EBSCO, Google Scholar
  • E-mail: ijiet@ejournal.net


Article Metrics in Dimensions