School of Education


Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership (EdD)


Christopher Clark


Digital Learner, Personalized Learning, Open Educational Resources, Virtual Learning Environments


Curriculum and Instruction | Education


The purpose of this transcendental phenomenological study was to understand the perceptions of elementary educators who had developed a personalized learning classroom through the use of virtual learning environments (VLE), an open educational resource (OER), as an instructional academic support for students. Guiding this study was Siemens’ 2005 connectivism learning theory, as it explains how students in the current era, the Knowledge Age, acquire knowledge and deepen understandings through digital learning. The central research question used to drive the study was: How do elementary educators explain their perceptions of the use of OER and VLE in personalized instruction for students? The data collection methods used in this study consisted of in-depth semi-structured interviews, observations, and document analysis of primary sources classified as instructional documents. The data analysis for this study included a conceptual framework used for coding, open coding, memoing, and final coding with winnowing. The data collected revealed that elementary educators perceived VLE as a supplemental support to their direct teaching and tutoring tool for digital learners in personalized learning classrooms. Educators felt that VLE was not able to meet the academic needs of students as a direct instruction tool. Findings revealed that educators perceived VLE to be inadequate and not appropriate when used with the special needs population of digital learning students.