Comparing dropouts and persistence in e-learning courses

Yair Levy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Several studies have been conducted related to dropouts from on-campus and distance education courses. However, no clear definition of dropout from academic courses was provided. Consequently, this study proposes a clear and precise definition of dropout from academic courses in the context of e-learning courses. Additionally, it is documented in literature that students attending e-learning courses dropout at substantially higher rates than their counterparts in on-campus courses. Little attention has been given to the key factors associated with such substantial difference. This study explores two main constructs: (1) academic locus of control; and, (2) students' satisfaction with e-learning. Results show that students' satisfaction with e-learning is a key indicator in students' decision to dropout from e-learning courses. Moreover, dropout students (non-completers) reported to have significantly lower satisfaction with e-learning than students who successfully completed (completers or persistent students) the same e-learning courses. Additionally, results of this study show that the academic locus of control appears to have no impact on students' decision to drop from e-learning courses.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)185-204
Number of pages20
JournalComputers and Education
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Academic locus of control
  • Business administration
  • Computer-mediated learning
  • Dropout rates
  • e-Learning
  • Persistence in e-learning courses
  • Students' satisfaction


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