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E-learning technologies: A comparative study of adult learners enrolled on blended and online campuses engaging in a virtual classroom

, Capella University, United States

Doctor of Philosophy, Capella University . Awarded


The convergence of competition, cost, technology, and new consumer demands have suggested that there are different rules for engaging students in a historically placid environment that has derived its strength from tradition rather than transition (Beaudoin, 2002, Distance education leadership: An essential role for the new century). The adult learner population is growing both in number and in proportion to the traditional student population (National Center for Educational Statistics, 2007, Digest of education statistics: 2007). Adult learners enroll in online distance education courses hoping they will be able to fit acquiring a degree into their busy lives (Kasworm, 2003, Setting the stage: Adults in higher education). However, between 40% to 80% drop out of online classes (Tyler-Smith, 2006, Early attrition among first time elearners: A review of factors that contribute to drop-out, withdrawal and non-completion rates of adult learners undertaking elearning programmes) and 21% are pleading for a more engaging online experience (Schaffhauser, 2009, Survey reports many online learners never seek help before dropping out). Confusion increases as higher education leaders explore dozens of new e-learning technologies to engage learners (Kim & Bonk, 2006, The future of online teaching and learning in higher education: The survey says). The purpose of this quantitative study is to compare two types of adult learners – adult learners enrolled on an online campus and adult learners enrolled on blended campuses – and their selection of e-learning technologies to engage their instructor, course content, and other learners in a virtual classroom. In a learner-centered world, student selection of e-learning technologies may better predict how to engage students in an online distance education course (Kim & Bonk, 2006; Percival & Muirhead, 2009, Prioritizing the implementation of e-learning tools to enhance the post-secondary learning environment).


Smith, B.G. E-learning technologies: A comparative study of adult learners enrolled on blended and online campuses engaging in a virtual classroom. Doctor of Philosophy thesis, Capella University. Retrieved December 2, 2022 from .

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