This qualitative research study utilized Noblit and Hare’s (1988) meta-ethnographic approach to synthesize findings of five dissertations that focused on distance learning support services for adult learners. Noblit and Hare’s (1988) meta-ethnographic approach consists of seven phases. Each meta-ethnographic phase guided the identification process of possible relationships, interpretations, multiple perspectives, and analogies from the five dissertations. Seidel’s (2008) Ethnograph software also assisted in the codification of metaphors and aided in maintaining objectivity when interpreting the five dissertations. Ethnographical studies stemmed from anthropological studies which could be applied in the educational field. Researchers applied ethnographical approaches to examine and document phenomenon. This document was a meta-ethnographical study that explored existing research on distance learning support services in higher education. Each individual researcher of the five dissertations used in this study established validity through coding, cross-coding, triangulation for their results. The relationships and synthesis between the dissertations revealed four holistic themes with core elements connected to current developments in distance learning support services: (a) web-based design, (b) support services, (c) stakeholder perceptions, and (d) learner attrition. This meta-ethnographical synthesis provided a collection of issues and related elements that emphasized common distance learning participants’ perspectives. The value of this meta-ethnographical study in presenting overarching themes and synthesis of phenomenon in distance learning could assist the future design of support service functions.
|Advisor:||Bruch, Elizabeth A.|
|Commitee:||Jacobs, Howard, Lawrence, Dennis|
|Department:||School of Education|
|School Location:||United States -- Minnesota|
|Source:||DAI-A 71/11, Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Instructional Design, Adult education, Educational technology|
|Keywords:||Adult education, Andragogy, Distance learning, Online education, Support services, Web-based education|
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