Reducing Isolation through Regional Mentors and Learning Communities: A Way to Support Rural Learners
Originally published by the American Council on Rural Special Education.
Reinforcing and facilitating learning communities is a strategy that has been used to decrease attrition rates in traditional campus-based programs, and it has been hypothesized that applying principles of learning communities in distance education programs could have similar positive outcomes. To facilitate the development and maintenance of regional learning communities within the Mild/Moderate Distance Degree and Licensure Program at Utah State University, highly successful graduates of the program are employed as mentors within each broadcast locality to engineer regional opportunities for studying and socialization. Program evaluation respondents indicate that mentoring experiences were very helpful as they progressed through the courses and practica. Moreover, graduation rates increased from 53% to 75% since the inception of this approach.
Glomb, N., Midenhall, T., Mason, L., & Salzberg, C. (2009). Reducing Isolation through Regional Mentors and Learning Communities: A Way to Support Rural Learners. Rural Special Education Quarterly. 28(4), 31-35.