The Variability of the Reasons for Student Dropout in Distance Learning and the Prediction of Dropout-Prone Students

  • Christos Pierrakeas
  • Giannis Koutsonikos
  • Anastasia-Dimitra Lipitakis
  • Sotiris KotsiantisEmail author
  • Michalis Xenos
  • George A. Gravvanis
Part of the Intelligent Systems Reference Library book series (ISRL, volume 158)


The adult education that is provided by Universities that use distance learning methods is without doubt inseparable from high dropout rates, frequently higher than those in conventional Universities. Dropping out in a University that provides distance education is caused by professional, academic, health and family and personal reasons. Limiting dropout is crucial and therefore, the aptitude to predict students’ dropping out could be very useful. We try to identify the most appropriate comprehensive learning algorithm using the most informative attributes for the prediction of students’ dropout. Additionally, we have explored the reasons of dropping out in order to examine on a large scale whether they are affected over time and study these changes. The data used was provided by the Student Registry of the Hellenic Open University and additional data was collected by an interview-based survey. It was found that the most informative attributes are the student gender, the participation at the first face to face meeting and the marks on the first two written assignments. A web-based application, which is based on these attributes and can automatically recognize students with high probability of dropping out, was constructed in order to help tutors detect students at risk even at the beginning of the academic year.


Adult learning Distance education and telelearning Lifelong learning Machine learning 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christos Pierrakeas
    • 1
  • Giannis Koutsonikos
    • 1
  • Anastasia-Dimitra Lipitakis
    • 2
  • Sotiris Kotsiantis
    • 3
    Email author
  • Michalis Xenos
    • 4
  • George A. Gravvanis
    • 5
  1. 1.Department of Business AdministrationTechnological Educational Institute of Western GreecePatrasGreece
  2. 2.Department of Informatics and TelematicsHarokopio University of AthensKallitheaGreece
  3. 3.Department of MathematicsUniversity of PatrasRioGreece
  4. 4.Department of Computer Engineering & InformaticsUniversity of PatrasRioGreece
  5. 5.Department of Electrical and Computer EngineeringDemocritus University of Thrace, University CampusXanthiGreece

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