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Learner Persistence

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Learner Persistence Research and Resources


Basic Concepts

  • Learner Persistence Adults staying in programs for as long as they can, engaging in self-directed study or distance education when they must stop attending program services, and returning to program services as soon as the demands of their lives allow.” (National Center for Study of Adult Learning and Literacy)
  • Critical First Three Weeks Nationwide, adult education programs lose 50% of their learners, many within the first 3 weeks. Student intake, orientation, and learner goal setting during the first few weeks of class are critical to improving learner retention in adult ed. (Quigley and Uhland. 2000)
  • Learner Goal Setting Learners who have specific goals in mind are more likely to persist in their studies. (Comings, Perella, and Soricone, 1999.)
  • Supports and Barriers If students are aware of the forces that help and hinder their persistence, they can take action to manage them and thereby increase the chance of attaining their educational goals. (Comings et al. 1999)
  • "Stop outs" vs. "Drop outs" Departure from a program is often not a failure, but a temporary situation in which students intend to return when they are able. (Belzer. 1998)


Learner Persistence Resources

NationalCenter for Study of Adult Learning and Literacy (NCSALL)


Helping Adults Persist: Four Supports. A study by the National Center for the Study of Adult Learning and Literacy suggesting that "managing positive and negative forces, self-efficacy, setting goals, and making measurable progress" helps learners continue their studies. http://www.ncsall.net/?id=332

California Adult Literacy Professional Development Project (CALPRO)


Learner Persistence in Adult Basic Education. A review of recent research in Learner Persistence published by the California Adult Literacy Professional Development Project http://www.calpro-online.org/pubs/100719LearnerPersistenceNewsletterPress.pdf