Degree Date

5-1-2021

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education

Department

Education

First Advisor

Dr. Michael Walcheski

Second Advisor

Dr. Acacia Nikoi

Third Advisor

Dr. Peter J. Rundquist

Abstract

As more students experience online learning environments, the academic community must invest more energy into improving retention of these learners. The purpose of this research was to study the impact of an advising model designed to support online learners, the Online learner advising model (OLAM). This study examined new student retention in the first 3 terms and GPA outcomes to measure the impact of the advising approach. OLAM was designed to address the specific needs of online learners through bringing together elements of proactive advising, shame resilience theory, and appreciative advising.

The sample was selected from Concordia University, St. Paul students who entered an MBA online program during the Spring 2020 and Fall 2020 semesters with Concordia University, St. Paul. To determine the impact of the OLAM approach, quantitative measures were used. First, an advisor was trained to use OLAM. Next, the advisor began using the OLAM approach with students starting their online MBA program in the Fall of 2020. Finally, student retention and grade point average data were collected and analyzed to measure the impact of OLAM on student success.

The quantitative analysis revealed a statistically significant relationship of GPA outcomes between the OLAM and Non-OLAM groups; while there was no statistically significant relationship for the retention outcomes between OLAM compared to a Non-OLAM cohort. The OLAM approach has the potential to influence the outcomes for online learners and should be studied further to determine the full potential impact. Additional research is recommended with a larger sample size, across multiple cohorts, with a variety of programs of study, and over a longer period.

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