School of Education


Doctor of Education (EdD)


Lisa Foster


Adult Learning, Continuing Education, Distance Education, Higher Education, Military Students, Online Learning


Curriculum and Instruction | Education | Educational Assessment, Evaluation, and Research | Educational Methods | Educational Psychology | Online and Distance Education | Other Education


Active duty service members’ participation in non-traditional higher education designed for veterans and other non-traditional adults can be uniquely impacted by their unpredictable military schedules, geographic instability, and frequently limited access to technology needed to complete course requirements while in remote areas. The purpose of this study was to examine whether active duty undergraduates differed significantly regarding their attitudes toward distance learning and their perceptions of the distance learning environment compared to veterans and non-traditional adults. This causal comparative study examined adult students’ perceptions after participating in 200-level undergraduate education delivered online at a private four-year institution based on their current status as active duty, veteran, or non-military non-traditional student using the Distance Education Learning Environment Survey. ANOVA was used to compare overall enjoyment of distance learning. MANOVA examined differences among groups regarding instructor support, personal relevance, and student autonomy. Participants included 203 online undergraduates who completed a 200-level general education course during the Spring 2017 semester. There was no significant difference between active duty members and veterans regarding enjoyment of distance learning, and no significant differences among groups for instructor support, personal relevance, and student autonomy. Based on the literature, there is a need to develop an instrument focused specifically on evaluating institutional and programmatic barriers. A mixed-methods approach that builds on existing literature regarding issues faced by active duty military students could result in the development of such an instrument.