Lecture-taught students less likely to drop out: study

University lecture
by Nik Taylor | 15 Oct 2018

Bored of your lectures? You might have cause to be thankful for them, according to a new study.

Students taught via lectures are less likely to consider dropping out of university, the report shows.

Researchers looked into the experiences of students who have dropped out, using data from a survey of one UK university.

“We found that students who said they were taught mainly based on lectures, the traditional model, were less likely to contemplate withdrawing early from university,” Dr Oliver Webb, educational developer at the University of Plymouth and a co-author of the paper, told Times Higher Education.

The research, which analysed experiences of 1,170 students, also showed a direct correlation between thinking about dropping out and actually dropping out. 

“It could be to do with the expectations people have when they arrive at universities,” said Dr Webb. “Students who arrive expecting the traditional lecture-based approach might find more active methods of participation a bit of a shock to the system.”

The study also found low levels of individual contact time with teaching staff to be linked with students considering dropping out.

“It seems that it is course-related discussions that students want, to help them refine their understanding and knowledge, and I’m not sure that a lot of universities are quite hitting that: we’ve got teaching through large lectures and personal tutoring, but we need something in the middle,” said Dr Webb.

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