School of Education


Doctor of Education (EdD)


Linda Gable


college student, learning disability, resiliency, self-efficacy


Adult and Continuing Education | Education


The purpose of this phenomenological research study was to describe the essence of what it means to be a college student at Midwest Christian University who is identified with a learning disability (LD) after beginning a collegiate learning experience. The theory that guided this study was three-fold. Combining Bandura's study of self-efficacy, the concept of resiliency, and a biblical worldview of learners, the study investigated the effects of a delayed LD identification on the academic and emotional lives of the participants. Additionally, the study analyzes steps that can be followed to alleviate the effects of the phenomenon. Data was collected during the research process by personal and focus group interviews and by document analysis of questionnaires. Research findings were analyzed in an attempt to ascertain recurring themes and patterns. Such themes and patterns provided clusters of meaning to more fully describe the experience of the college student who first learns about a personal learning disability after starting their higher educational journey. The data revealed that the participants struggled in many areas. Academically, the participants toiled in reading, writing, and mathematical courses; faced troubling transitional obstacles as freshman; and labored in large lecture courses. Emotionally, the participants were overwhelmed by frustration and discouragement about college in general and had high anxiety about interaction with faculty members. Institutionally, universities should create practices that encourage mentoring relationships, testing accommodations, lighter student academic loads, and interactive learning.