Submitted to Northcentral University
Graduate Faculty of the School of Education in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of DOCTOR OF EDUCATION
Higher education has changed markedly since the beginning of the 21st century. Two of the most significant changes are a sharp increase of non-traditional students and a rise in instructional technology. According to research, many college campuses are comprised of more non-traditional than traditional students. Researchers have concluded instructional technology is not an option for colleges to consider, but an essential component of learning in the 21st century. The general issue to be addressed in this study was based on a report by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES, 2014) that stated since 2000, adults have returned en masse to colleges across the United States. The problem was although college enrollments increased due to this newer student demographic, research showed colleges did not have a comprehensive strategy for effectively using learning management systems (LMSs) to facilitate learning in face-to-face courses. The purpose of this qualitative, multiple case study was to evaluate how a learning management system (e.g., Moodle), was used by students and instructors in a non-traditional, degree-completion program at a private, four-year college. The phenomenon being studied was how a learning management system was used to facilitate the learning process in a non-traditional, degree-completion program and what impact that learning process had on learning outcomes. The target college was given a pseudonym of Midwest University with an approximate annual enrollment of 100
students and up to 40 faculty members in a non-traditional, accelerated program. A group of 10 students (10% sample size), and 10 instructors (20% sample size) were interviewed using a semi-structured interview protocol to collect their perceptions of how the learning
management system was used in their courses and how it has facilitated the learning process (n=20). Participants for this study were in one U.S. Midwestern state. A multiple case analysis was conducted to identify unifying and diverging themes associated with this phenomenon. The findings of this study produced two primary themes consisting of Information, including data management and knowledge acquisition and Integration, including application/engagement and communication/feedback of an LMS in face-to-face courses. Five recommendations for further academic research and five recommendations for practical application were presented.