School of Education


Doctor of Education in Curriculum & Instruction (EdD)


Floralba Arbelo Marrero


Adult Learners, Online Education, Time Management




The purpose of this case study was to discover the time management experiences of adult learners in an online undergraduate degree program at a mid-sized, Midwestern private university. The theory guiding this study was Tourangbam’s (2011) time equity theory as it emphasized the connection between time management and both productivity and life satisfaction. Data was collected through online (Zoom) interviews, a virtual (Zoom) focus group, and photovoice (Wang & Burris, 1992) exercise in which participants took photographs that represented their priorities, obligations, and time-wasters, which were the three categories of time management identified in time equity theory (Tourangbam, 2011). Data was analyzed qualitatively, allowing emergent categories to form from the raw data. Data from the three types of sources were synthesized, and multi-layered member-checking was used to increase the dependability of the study. The results of this study demonstrated common experiences, behaviors, and understandings of priorities, obligations, and time-wasters among the participants. The participants consistently used time-management strategies identified in existing literature (Macan et al., 1990), as well as self-regulation behaviors (Bandura, 1991). However, participants did not make the distinction between priorities and obligations described by Tourangbam (2011) and used these terms interchangeably. All participants identified social media as a time-waster and admitted to struggling to minimize time-wasters. Participants described their places of study as typically chaotic, high-traffic areas with frequent interruptions, but also identified supportive family as a primary factor in their academic success.

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