What Can We Still Offer? Understanding Student Support in Distance Education Teacher Preparation Programs





Bandura self-efficacy theory, distance education, higher education, student attrition, student support, teacher preparation programmes


Most literature underscores that there is general high student attrition in distance education. Such literature emphasises that lack of relational and academic support is largely to blame for the attrition in distance education. Literature on students support in distance education seems to indicate an institutional responsibility to curbing attrition. Realising that the previous assertion is an incomplete understanding of factors that influence attrition in distance education, the present study focused on understanding the self-efficacy qualities that students require to complete their degree programs. The research was theoretically underpinned by Bandura’s self-efficacy theory. The study used a quantitative approach. The study’s population comprised of 1800 distance education students at Solusi University. Stratified sampling was used to select 360 students who were respondents. Data was collected using a 10 itemed Likert scale Generalised Self-Efficacy questionnaire. Exploratory factor analysis was used for data analysis. The results indicate that students require coping, proactive, ingenuity, problem solving and tenacity as self- efficacy dispositions to complete their distance education studies. From the study’s findings, it is recommended that student support research in distance education focus on nurturing students’ self-efficacy dispositions that enhance their academic performance. 

Author Biography

Nhlanhla Mpofu, Sol Plaatje University

Lecturer, School of Education


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How to Cite

Mpofu, Nhlanhla. 2017. “What Can We Still Offer? Understanding Student Support in Distance Education Teacher Preparation Programs”. Progressio: South African Journal for Open and Distance Learning Practice 38 (2):33-46. https://doi.org/10.25159/0256-8853/1527.



Received 2016-09-16
Accepted 2017-04-13
Published 2017-08-16