Retaining the Online Learner: Profile of Students in an Online MBA Program and Implications for Teaching Them

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Research regarding student cohorts entering the Georgia WebMBA$$ program (an online MBA program in the University System of Georgia) shows consistent demographic characteristics as well as students' reasons for joining the program, experience with online learning, and perceptions of teamwork. The program has a high retention rate, and in this article the authors focus on retaining online learners. They discuss the profile of program students and the teaching approaches that have been successful in addressing potential attrition issues with these learners. To retain virtual learners, the program provides a cohort- and team-based learning experience with extensive faculty feedback and interaction to address isolation concerns, provide application-based content and activities, and help students meet expectations for personal and professional growth. The authors also stress the need to offer a well-managed program and faculty members who are both interested and competent in teaching in the online learning environment.