Best Practices Relating to Student Persistence, Motivation, and Retention in Online MBA Programs

Presented to the Academic Forum. This article presents a research proposal related to the title. It was approved for publication. It is co-authored with Hilary Johnson-Lutz, Jennifer Schneider and Louise Underdahl.  

There is limited research that focuses on online MBA students who persist and complete their degree. Generally, research appears to target the undergraduate student population and/or the group of students who drop out or delay earning their degree for a variety of reasons.  Demographics indicate that online MBA programs are on the rise while there is a clear decrease in residential MBA programs and research is needed to develop and evaluate evidence-based interventions to strengthen persistence in online students

Abstract: 

There is limited research that focuses on online MBA students who persist and complete their degree. Generally, research appears to target the undergraduate student population and/or the group of students who drop out or delay earning their degree for a variety of reasons.  Demographics indicate that online MBA programs are on the rise while there is a clear decrease in residential MBA programs and research is needed to develop and evaluate evidence-based interventions to strengthen persistence in online students

 

For-profit online post-secondary institutions of higher learning often struggle with student retention and on-time graduation rates. Online MBA programs vary in the average length of time it takes to complete the program, but typically range from 1 year to 5 years depending on the specific school and its program. Although more students are enrolling in online MBA programs, and at increasing rates, their attrition impacts the business of running, and sustaining, successful programs. Attrition rates also influence student enrollments in specific universities. While a variety of best practices have been associated with, and identified by, online students who persist in completing their educational programs, data unique to online MBA students appears to be lacking in recent studies and literature. Such data could positively impact both retention and on-time graduation rates for online MBA programs.  

 

A phenomenological study of self-identified online MBA program completers and their perceptions of the best practices that most significantly contributed to their persistence and program completion may contribute to a better understanding of this aspect of retention.  Due to the limited research specifically addressing online MBA student persistence, this study is important to collect and analyze information and best practices that participants link with persistence and completion of their degree programs.

This publication has been peer reviewed.
Publication Type: 
Journal Article
Authors: 
Sandra Sessoms-Penny, Hilary Johnson-Lutz, Jennifer Schneider, Louise Underdahl
Year of Publication: 
2015
Journal, Book, Magazine or Other Publication Title: 
The Exchange, Vol. 4, #2, December 2015
Volume: 
14
Edition: 
December 2015
Publisher: 
The Academic Forum
Publication Language: 
English
Editors: 
The Academic Forum
Associated Awards: 
Academic Forum, Most Promising Future Research Stream Award, Research Proposal “Best Practices Relating to Student Persistence, Motivation, and Retention in Online MBA Programs” co-authored with Hilary Johnson-Lutz, Jennifer Schneider, Sandra Sessoms-Penn

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Sandra Sessoms-Penny
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