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Learner Support Services for Online Students: Scaffolding for success

  • Stacey Ludwig-hardman
  • Joanna C. Dunlap
Keywords: student support, learner support, online learning, scaffolding, self-directed learning, isolation, learning community, advising

Abstract

A critical component of an effective retention program for online students is a learner support services program. While many factors contribute to attrition, at the top of the list are level of interaction and support. To this end, some students in distance learning programs and courses report feelings of isolation, lack of self-direction and management, and eventual decrease in motivation levels. This article describes the types of learner support services strategies that can effectively address these retention challenges. Examples from Western Governors University (WGU) are provided to describe these strategies in action.

Key terms: learner support, online learning, scaffolding, self-directed learning, isolation, learning community, advising

Author Biographies

Stacey Ludwig-hardman
Stacey Ludwig-Hardman Ph.D., is the director of Academic Services at Western Governors University. She is responsible for coordinating and providing leadership for the Associate of Arts program and academic services including mentoring, retention, satisfactory academic progress, and financial aid. Her research focuses on the facilitation of online learning communities, competency-based learning, and online learning. If you wish to contact Dr. Ludwig-Hardman, please email: shardman@wgu.edu
Joanna C. Dunlap
Joanna C. (Joni) Dunlap Ph.D., is an assistant professor in Information and Learning Technologies at the University of Colorado at Denver. She coordinates a Master's program for instructional technologists, and an online certification program in designing Web-based learning environments. Her research focuses on constructivist learning environments, online learning and performance support systems, lifelong learning, and enculturation. You may contact Dr. Dunlap at: Joni_Dunlap@ceo.cudenver.edu
Published
2003-04-01
How to Cite
Ludwig-hardman, S., & Dunlap, J. C. (2003). Learner Support Services for Online Students: Scaffolding for success. The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 4(1). https://doi.org/10.19173/irrodl.v4i1.131
Section
Research Articles