Explaining persistence in online courses in higher education: a difference-in-differences analysis

Article de revue


État de publication: publié

Nom de la revue: International Journal of Educational Technology in Higher Education

Volume: 19

Numéro: 3

Intervalle de pages: 1-32

URL: https://educationaltechnologyjournal.springeropen.com/articles/10.1186/s41239-021-00251-4

Résumé: The aim of this study was to verify if the UTAUT model, enriched with anxiety and factors relating to students characteristics and to the specificities of online courses, influences persistence in online courses. A theoretical model encompassing 13 variables was tested. Three moderating variables (gender, age and prior online course experience) were taken into account in the analyses. Data was collected among a sample of 759 students from Université Laval and Université de Sherbrooke using an online questionnaire. The results indicate that the main driver of persistence in online courses are: anxiety, satisfaction, effort expectancy, engagement, behavioral intention, employer encouragement, facilitating conditions and performance expectancy. The structural model was further examined according to gender, age and prior online course experience groups. Findings indicate that the model explains 21.4% to 37.1% of the variance in persistence in online courses. Moreover, as expected, the results indicated different patterns in the strength and significant relationships between groups and for the overall model, suggesting that gender, age and prior online course experience play a moderating role. The discussion links the results of this study to those of previous studies and suggests areas for improvement that could be implemented by academic administrators and instructors in order to enhance persistence in online courses.