Reasons Why Students Drop Out of Online Courses - NELOC Media Academy
According to a 2020 research by the NELOC Media Academy, results show that the increase in demand for online education rose by about 173% in the last few months, particularly due to the 2020 COVID-19 Pandemic. However, by its projections this number may not decrease anytime soon. This is largely due to the fact that individuals (students, teachers and parents alike), institutions and the larger society is practically coming to terms in accepting the new reality. 

At the same time, the study also records that there has been a high number of online school dropouts as many students leave their courses abandoned for many reasons. A few of them are considered in this article so you may just find one likely reason why you may drop out of your online course.

Enrollment in online education continues to rise, with more and more learners daily. This quest for knowledge as regards online learning is now common for mainstream academic institutions, professional or career trainings, skill acquisitions, religious trainings and in some cases, personal development. Despite its popularity, many learners fail to complete their courses. This is a big problem for online school teachers and administrators.

By the results of our survey, we discovered that it is not enough to develop and sell a course online. Much more is needed to ensure that an appropriate learning experience is delivered to the student. A learner who signs up and later drops out isn’t getting everything they paid for. While that’s not  the administrator's sole responsibility, it will still affect their experience and ratings of the course. If students feel disappointed or frustrated (causing them to drop out), it might prevent them from passing on a good recommendation by word of mouth. It will almost certainly mean they would not sign up for a second class. Apart from unseriousness and non-chalance on the part of the student, there is a huge difference in the other reasons why online schools and physical school sessions suffer huge dropout records. As a result, online schools and administrators need to create courses that will encourage the learners to finish. 

Here are some of the top reasons we’ve identified behind online dropout rates.

1. Unrealistic expectations about the work involved

Many online students want to make millions and hit it big immediately after they finish up their online courses. In some cases, they want to start earning while they are still learning. This makes them forget that there is a place of proper process, preparation and gathering experience for every course. Many students like to start a project with optimistic visions about the time and effort required, only to abandon it once they realize that there is more to it. This is most likely the leading cause of online course drop outs. The promise of big earnings inspire some learners to join classes, and it’s only when they start that they realize the work involved. To curb this, our report recommends a proper and clear communication as to how much time learners should set aside for the course, including estimates for each module, assignments, projects and after class experience. Online courses should also emphasize the fact that earnings and profitability capacity of any course is dependent on individual hard work and that rewards will differ on that basis.

2. Lack of specifications (Beginners, Intermediary or Advanced)

Many online courses do not have prerequisites for learners before they take up a course. If students sign up expecting content targeted toward beginning students, and instead find out that the classes are meant for advanced learners, they could lose interests in the course. It is similar to a case where a junior secondary student will not have the necessary background to attend a PhD class.

Not all beginners start with the same background. So if you create a "beginner course" in Blogging, you can expect your students to have a background in writing, but not in Search Engine Optimisation. Thus, our academy report proposes that online schools and administrators must ensure that they specify their courses as recommended -Beginner courses, Intermediate and Advanced courses.

3. Poor communication from the Instructor

The student is not always the issue. Online education can feel isolating and while you think you are taking your students along, you actually leave them behind. That lack of contact can make them hesitate to ask for help. Online courses can be difficult because there is no physical relations. However, you can introduce contact by addressing each student individually in the case of any issue. Try to explain concepts with better illustrations and with things you assume are in their environments. You can also have them engage in certain break out activities to relax, especially for longer classes and follow up on them to improve lecturer-student communication. That way, they become drawn to the course and finish up  lectures as quickly as they can.

Frequent and direct communication from the course instructors makes students feel that their success is important, and that their progress isn’t going without notice. Lecturers can also make be available to help students with any questions, and be proactive in contacting others who appear to be falling behind.

4. Bad Course Pacing Structures

Some topics are more complex than others and some need practical classes. Knowing how to split them apart can be a challenge. A particularly difficult lesson can cause some learners to leave, especially if they don’t feel like they’re getting much feedback from an instructor.

For a difficult lesson, lecturers should inform the learners in advance so that they can plan extra time for the module. Such modules should also be broken down into digestible chunks, making it easier for learners to finish. If they continue to struggle, consider adding more relevant material and adopt new steps to help them grasp the subject.

5. Low Motivation

Low motivation is different from laziness. There are many reasons why a learner could lose motivation, but a demanding workload can leave a user feeling discouraged, or the social isolation could make the learner feel like no one’s paying attention to their presence or absence from the course. To fix this issue, the pacing and structure of the course can be adjusted to increase student motivation. Tutors should also try to send emails to check up on learners who haven’t had any account activity in a few days. Sometimes a small prompt can encourage learners to re-engage.

6. Technological glitches.

In a country with low power supply, data network issues and other tech problems, it is possible that technology will sometimes disappoint learners and instructors alike. This can cause frustration for learners, causing them to drop out. From the research survey, some students complained of insufficient mobile storage space affecting the operation of the learning apps and similar tech issues.

The right system can cut down on a lot of your technology problems. It’s also wise to avoid any undue bells and whistles that aren’t providing real value to your course. Better to concentrate on delivering the best content you can than inadvertently sabotaging your work with some trendy gimmick.
Diagnosing the problem can help you find the solution.

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7. Student/Lecturer Personal Crisis

Investing hard work into developing an online course and seeing students drop out can be a major discouragement. It can leave administrators helpless, wondering what they could possibly be doing wrong. Sadly, some problems will always be out of control. If a student faces an unexpected personal crisis, lacks interest in the subject, or ignores your guidelines regarding prerequisites and estimated coursework, then there’s not much you can do. But in the meantime, creating a better course experience for your learners is well within your grasp.

In conventional school structures, factors like poor grades, drug use, sexual promiscuity, gang activities, personal sickness or ailing family members who require assistance can cause a student to drop out. This is far from online school structures and that is one reason why it has to be checked.

According to the NELOC Media Academy research, only a small percentage say that they drop out because of school environments (Zoom, Google Meet, Whatsapp and even custom school software), ineffective teachers, mental health issues, or the fear of failure. In the report, these factors are connected to socioeconomic status of the students. Students from low-income areas are 2.4 times more likely to drop out of school than those from middle-income neighborhoods. When students need to worry about necessities like data spent online, time, convenience, food, and safety, they cannot expend energy on school.