The Role of Educational Technology and Online Learning in Preventing Dropouts

Assorted Electronics on table

By Yu-Chun Kuo
Rowan University
[email protected]

The use of educational technology appears to be a method to prevent students from leaving school (Harper & Boggan, 2011; Reimer & Smink, 2005; Roblyer, 2006; Smith, Clark, & Blomeyer, 2005). Fully online and blended learning are two of the most popular course delivery methods in K-12 education. The majority of these online or blended programs are provided for high school students; significantly fewer opportunities are given to middle and elementary students (DiPietro, Ferdig, Black, & Preston, 2008; Harper & Boggan, 2011). The potential of online learning may help remove learning barriers by increasing student motivation to learn or by improving student attitudes towards learning, which decreases the negative influences of individual and institutional factors contributing to student dropout issues (Rumberger & Lim, 2008). Developing an online program for credit recovery or for students at risk of dropping out may be challenging, and several factors related to online effectiveness need to be considered carefully. We provide several recommendations (see Table 1) through a summary of prior research that may be helpful for K-12 administrators or educators to consider when developing online and blended programs for at-risk students or those who have dropped out.

[table id=1 /]


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DiPietro, M., Ferdig, R. E., Black, E. W., & Preston, M. (2008). Best practices in teaching K-12
online: Lessons learned from Michigan virtual school teachers. Journal of Interactive Online Learning, 7(1), 10-35.

Harper, S., & Boggan, M. (2011). Opinions, benefits, and weaknesses of virtual high school and
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information and communication technology literacy based on socio-economic status, ethnicity, and gender: Evidence of a digital divide in Florida Schools. Journal of Research on Technology in Education, 45(4), 291-307.

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of research. Santa Barbara, CA: University of California, Santa Barbara.

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Vienna, VA: NACOL.

Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute

Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute

The Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute (MVLRI) is a non-biased organization that exists to expand Michigan’s ability to support new learning models, engage in active research to inform new policies in online and blended learning, and strengthen the state’s infrastructures for sharing best practices. MVLRI works with all online learning environments to develop the best practices for the industry as a whole.

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