ERIC Number: ED550758
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
Infoglut: Does It Hinder the Online Learning Experience of Nontraditional Students?
Riddle, Laura J.
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, Northcentral University
Information overload is an issue not only in the corporate world, but also in the world of online education. This phenomenon has a unique relationship to nontraditional students who may lack the computer skills of traditional students. Little research has focused on this particular demographic. Failure to address this issue could result in lower retention rates in higher education. The purpose of this phenomenological study was to focus on the perceptions of information overload by nontraditional students enrolled in the distance education program offered by a community college in Arkansas. The design was a phenomenological study using 10 nontraditional students enrolled in at least one online course who believed they had experienced information overload. Data was collected through one-on-one interviews using a semi-structured interview guide containing 23 open-ended questions. Data was analyzed through phenomenological processes by reviewing transcripts of the interviews, identifying emerging themes and employing horizontalization to ensure validity. Five themes were identified: (a) initial response of information anxiety and unfamiliarity, (b) taking initiative to become more familiar with course navigation and procedures, (c) importance of prior computer knowledge, (d) self-determination to continue coursework, and (e) seeking out of support resources. This study will enhance current literature on the special needs of nontraditional students in higher education online learning programs, and the possible issues regarding information overload in the education sector. Data from this study will assist administrators and instructors who are concerned with recruitment and retention of the nontraditional demographic. Future research focusing on the nontraditioinal student is essential for the expansion of online learning and its attractiveness for this demographic. A recommendation for future research is to expand this study to include traditional students in the community college setting as well as in four-year institutions. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page: http://www.proquest.com/en-US/products/dissertations/individuals.shtml.]
Descriptors: Electronic Learning, Information Dissemination, Barriers, Information Management, Nontraditional Students, Nontraditional Education, Computer Literacy, Phenomenology, Distance Education, Community Colleges, Online Courses, Semi Structured Interviews, Student Needs
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Two Year Colleges; Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Arkansas