Student Support Services for Success in Open and Distance Learning
Open and distance learning has been a great success in the latter half of the twentieth century. However there is what Woodley et al (2013) call ‘an elephant in the room of distance education’ - its dropout rate. Figure 1 shows the graduation rates for a number of distance institutions compared with the UK full-time rate. It can be seen that distance institutions tend to have much lower graduation rates than the UK full time average - the so-called ‘distance education deficit’. The London University International Programme is a particularly good example of this deficit as its degrees are presented in two different modes, one reinforced by face-to face support at local institutions, the other entirely at a distance. The course content and examinations are identical in both modes, but the supported option is better by around 61% to 16%.