Learner Attrition in an Advanced Vocational Online Training: The Role of Computer Attitude, Computer Anxiety, and Online Learning Experience

Klaus D. Stiller 1  and Annamaria Köster 2
  • 1 Department of Pedagogy, University of Regensburg, Germany
  • 2 University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany


Online learning has gained importance in education over the last 20 years, but the well-known problem of high dropout rates still persists. According to the multi-dimensional learning tasks model, the cognitive (over)load of learners is essential to attrition when dealing with five challenges (e.g. technology, user interface) of an online training (Tyler-Smith, 2006). The experienced load might depend on learner characteristics. The study explored the extent that learners dropping out from a vocational video-based online training about media design for employees of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises differ from working learners’ online learning experience, computer attitude, and computer anxiety. The data were collected from 72 of 128 registered employees who completed a questionnaire before starting the course to analyze differences between the dropout group (submitted no solutions to online training tasks; n = 19) and the active learner group (submitted at least one of 13 task solutions; n = 53). No differences were found in online learning experience, but the dropout group reported more negative attitudes towards computers and a higher level of computer anxiety than the active learner group.

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