E. Bustos-Contell, G. Labatut-Serer, J. Martínez-Vargas

University of Valencia (Spain) (SPAIN)
New technologies have facilitated access to distance learning courses remarkably, to the extent that the number of courses imparted in this way has multiplied over the last decade. Freedom and convenience (Ducker, 2001), and also easier access to the Internet (Botti, 2012) are the main reasons for the growing number of e-learning courses available.
However, at the same time a more than desirable number of distance learning courses fail in their early editions. Even the courses that have been running for some time suffer the loss of a considerable percentage of students, who decide not to complete their studies.
According to Jones and Peachey (2005), one of the main reasons for the failure of e-learning courses is that they adopt a merely virtual approach, without considering the human contact that students need in their learning process.
This research, carried out on the basis of teaching experience on an e-learning diploma course on financial reporting imparted by the University of Valencia (Spain) analyses the factors that could minimise the number of students who abandon distance learning courses before completing their studies.
Our proposal is based on the assessment levels proposed by Marshall and Shriver (in McArdle, 1999), to which we have added a factor that we consider vital for e-learning courses: the human factor.
More specifically, this paper provides some keys to course success and student satisfaction in terms of materials, planning and organisation and telematic resources. Finally, we highlight the figure of the motivational educator and the virtual relationships between educators and students that are so complex, but also so necessary in e-learning.