Collaboration, Connectedness, and Community: An examination of the factors Influencing Student Persistence in Virtual Communities
Institutions of higher education are being called upon to provide a more robust pathway to a college degree and improve upon the advanced workforce for the needs of the 21st century. While active collaborative learning environments have been encouraged in higher education to improve student engagement, there is a gap in the literature when it comes to connecting the two research areas of collaborative learning and student intention to persist. This research fills this gap by creating and conducting research to examine a model that measures the factors that significantly influence a student's persistence in a virtual collaborative learning environment. The model examines how collaborative learning, campus connectedness, sense of community, organizational commitment, and turnover intention influence student persistence. The model was tested using a sample of students who participated in a virtual learning community (VLC) and the results suggest that all but one of the factors were found to significantly influence student persistence, with the final factor dependent on the number of hours of system usage. We discuss the implications of the research and the model for team-based theory and organizational practice in education and teamwork.
This is the accepted manuscript of an article published in Computers in Human Behavior 57 (2016): 452–464, doi: 10.1016/j.chb.2015.12.046.