Publication Date



Globalised processes such as massification of higher education, promotion of lifelong learning and widespread use of computing technologies have contributed to the development of distance education in the higher education sector in the Asia-Pacific region. Distance education has become one of the most important forms of educational delivery in higher education within this region and distance learners have become a major new student group in the higher education sector. While the number of distance learners has substantially increased over the past few decades, distance educators battle continuously with the problem of retention and sustained participation. What motivates distance learners to engage in sustained periods of learning and how their motivation can be supported are important questions in the design of an effective distance learning environment. This chapter discusses research in distance learner motivation and retention. Based on achievement goal theory, it proposes a conceptual framework for designing an effective distance learning environment to sustain participation for distance learners.


Institute for Learning Sciences and Teacher Education

Document Type

Book Chapter

Access Rights

ERA Access

Access may be restricted.