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The Relationship between Classroom Environment and Student Course Attrition and Perceptions of Engagement

Lori Cooper, Karen Frantz Fry


Determining ways to help retain students in higher education institutions is becoming an issue with greater urgency with each passing year.  This study looked at the possibility of learning environments as one way to influence student retention and student perception of engagement, using the theoretical lens of sociocultural theory (Vygotsky, 1978) by reviewing data from an institution of higher education in the Northeast of the United States.  To that end, data on the number of students enrolled in one semester and correlation between learning environment and course attrition were compared (n=3926).  No significant relationship was found with a phi correlation coefficient (ø = .021, p < .05) between these variables, but the sample was further investigated with a survey to determine perceptions of higher education students in either traditional or Learning Studio learning environments regarding course retention/attrition.  Findings include participant support of Vygotsky’s sociocultural theory (1978), in that, participants affirmed the benefit of social interaction with instructors and peers.  On the other hand, concerns about instructor competence with technology was noted as a negative aspect of the Learning Studio.

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ISSN: 21586195

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