Graduate Research Papers


Open Access Graduate Research Paper


Distance education; Web-based instruction; Motivation in education; Learning, Psychology of; Telecommunication in education;


Many factors influence learners' decisions to complete or drop out of online learning courses in higher education where learners' persistence is considered critical to the success of the higher education institutions. This review examines recent literature on the relationship between learners' perceived Sense of Community (SOC), Social Presence, Satisfaction, and Participation and Interactions in distance education courses and learner persistence. Over 30 peer-reviewed studies published in academic journals within the past ten years were selected for critical analysis. Results are mixed and while many studies imply relationships between various learner and institution characteristics and student persistence, significant correlations are often lacking. Given the increasing popularity of on line education in higher education, identifying the characteristics of both successful students and of successful online learning environments warrants further investigation.

Year of Submission


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Department of Curriculum and Instruction

First Advisor

Ping Gao


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Date Original


Object Description

1 PDF file (iv, 39 pages)



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