Systematic and Systemic Approaches to Reducing Attrition Rates in Online Higher Education

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Prior to 1997, the Department of Instructional & Performance Technology (IPT) online program at Boise State University faced a high student dropout rate. The IPT turned to Keller's ARCS model, Kaufman's Organizational Elements Model, and Kirkpatrick's evaluation model throughout the processes of improving the motivational appeal of the online course for the first-time adult learners and solving the attrition problem. In this article, the author describes a long-term evaluation study and explains how she systematically designed and implemented various instructional interventions to reduce attrition. She also presents the results of systemic evaluations.