Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Learning in the 21st Century: A Phenomenological Study of a Blended Learning Program
by Tarvyd, Katherine E., Ed.D., Pepperdine University, 2019, 214; 13895333
Abstract (Summary)

The purpose of this phenomenological study was to explore the lived experiences and perspectives of students currently enrolled in or graduates within the last 3 years from a unique blended learning program at Sunshine High School and Sunshine iAcademy, schools in California. This study also sought to describe how these schools address the needs of high school students in a 21st century learning environment. The two theoretical frameworks used to drive this study were social constructivism and personalized learning theory.

This qualitative study was conducted in a single school district that offers some students a blended learning program; part of their school schedule takes place at the comprehensive high school and the other part of their schedule is offered via the district's iAcademy. Seven current students and one graduate within the past 3 years participated in in-depth, semi-structured individual interviews. The interview instrument used researcher-developed questions aligning with four themes identified in the research as influencing high school graduation rates, including personalized schools, rigorous and relevant curriculum, assistance to students, and qualified instructional staff (Dianda, 2008).

The study resulted in six conclusions based on the analysis and interpretation of the study findings: flexible learning schedule, alternative pathway for education, supportive, diverse learning styles, extended learning supports, and multiple motivations to enter a blended learning program. Participants shared that the blended learning program was a supportive one that offered them a flexible learning schedule so they could participate in their extracurricular activities. Each student had varying learning needs; participants shared that the blended learning program accommodated their diverse learning styles. Participants felt that extended learning supports would enhance the program.

Four practical recommendations to support blended learning resulted from analyzing the results of this study. First, school districts need to review their board policies to address online classes and or blended learning programs. Second, school districts need to examine the possibilities of offering online classes to students within a traditional high school setting. Third, school districts need to implement programs to monitor the social-emotional well-being of students enrolled in online classes, as some students may isolate themselves from social interaction. Fourth, school districts need to focus their LCFF funding to prioritize programs to meet the needs of students which could include funding for online courses.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Purrington, Linda
Commitee: McCabe, Molly, Sparks, Paul
School: Pepperdine University
Department: Education
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-A 80/11(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: Educational leadership
Keywords: Alternative form of education, Blended-learning, Diploma, High school, Hybrid, Online learning
Publication Number: 13895333
ISBN: 9781392242919
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