Older, online and first: Recommendations for retention and success

Cathy Stone, Sarah O'Shea


The university student population in Australia contains increasing numbers of older students returning to learning after a significant gap in their educational journey. Many are choosing to enrol online to combine their studies with other time-consuming responsibilities. This article examines the nature of this online student experience with a focus on those aged 25 and over who are the first in their families to embark on university studies. Drawing on interviews conducted with both staff and students operating in this virtual space, as well as other related research and literature, this article offers recommendations to higher education institutions and educators on ways to improve retention and ongoing participation of this cohort.


Higher Education; First in Family; Online; Mature age

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.14742/ajet.3913