Factors affecting on student unsuccessfulness in engineering programmes in distance education

Journal article


Senanayake, Samans, Liyanage, Kapila and Dadigamuwa, Pushpa Ranjani 2005. Factors affecting on student unsuccessfulness in engineering programmes in distance education. International Journal of Instructional Technology and Distance Learning.
AuthorsSenanayake, Samans, Liyanage, Kapila and Dadigamuwa, Pushpa Ranjani
Abstract

This study was conducted to ascertain the reasons for unsuccessfulness among students enrolling for engineering (technology) study programme in distance learning conducted by the Open University of Sri Lanka. The profile of students, students’ awareness about distance learning methodology, reasons for selecting distance learning courses, students’ appraisal of course delivery, and level of support given by the faculty were studied through a survey conducted among students who follow courses at levels 1 and 2. According to the study, it was revealed that majority of students who passed the G C E (A/L) examination were found to be either willing to continue or undecided whether to abandon or continue studies. Non-familiarity with distance learning method, lack of time, and high course fees were major reasons for deciding to give up the programme. Language difficulty and difficulty in course material were rated below other factors influencing possible student drop outs. Most students (87%) indicated securing employment and gaining knowledge as their reason for selecting the study programme in distance learning. Only a 13% joined because of persuasion by others. As far as course delivery is concerned, 86% of students needed more face-to-face teaching reflecting the fact that they have not made up minds to do self-study which is characteristic of distance learning. Further, 78% stated that even the limited face-to-face classes were not conducted to the satisfaction of students. In conclusion, it was evident that students joined the programme with an understanding of the content of the programme but they seem to find difficulty in coping due to distance learning methods. As far as delivery is concerned there were no major complaints on course material, but a more significant factor was the way faculty, staff and visiting academics conducted limited face-to-face classes. Therefore, making students, as well as all tutors and lectures who undertake to guide the students, thoroughly aware of the distance learning methods at enrolment, is strongly recommended.

This study was conducted to ascertain the reasons for unsuccessfulness among students enrolling for engineering (technology) study programme in distance learning conducted by the Open University of Sri Lanka. The profile of students, students’ awareness about distance learning methodology, reasons for selecting distance learning courses, students’ appraisal of course delivery, and level of support given by the faculty were studied through a survey conducted among students who follow courses at levels 1 and 2.

According to the study, it was revealed that majority of students who passed the G C E (A/L) examination were found to be either willing to continue or undecided whether to abandon or continue studies. Non-familiarity with distance learning method, lack of time, and high course fees were major reasons for deciding to give up the programme. Language difficulty and difficulty in course material were rated below other factors influencing possible student drop outs. Most students (87%) indicated securing employment and gaining knowledge as their reason for selecting the study programme in distance learning. Only a 13% joined because of persuasion by others.

As far as course delivery is concerned, 86% of students needed more face-to-face teaching reflecting the fact that they have not made up minds to do self-study which is characteristic of distance learning. Further, 78% stated that even the limited face-to-face classes were not conducted to the satisfaction of students.

In conclusion, it was evident that students joined the programme with an understanding of the content of the programme but they seem to find difficulty in coping due to distance learning methods. As far as delivery is concerned there were no major complaints on course material, but a more significant factor was the way faculty, staff and visiting academics conducted limited face-to-face classes. Therefore, making students, as well as all tutors and lectures who undertake to guide the students, thoroughly aware of the distance learning methods at enrolment, is strongly recommended.

KeywordsDistance education; Engineering; Higher education; Student attainment
Year2005
JournalInternational Journal of Instructional Technology and Distance Learning
PublisherDuquesne University
ISSN15506908
Web address (URL)http://hdl.handle.net/10545/621217
hdl:10545/621217
Publication datesJun 2005
Publication process dates
Deposited03 Jan 2017, 15:04
ContributorsThe Open University of Sri Lanka
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