School of Education


Doctor of Education (EdD)


Margaret Ackerman


Adult learner, Blended, Hybrid, Online education, Retention, Social learning


Adult and Continuing Education Administration | Education | Educational Administration and Supervision | Educational Assessment, Evaluation, and Research | Educational Leadership | Higher Education | Higher Education Administration | Online and Distance Education


Recent developments and technological advances in online education have provided the adult learner with new opportunities to obtain a college education. However, online coursework offers new challenges particularly for online student retention, as these rates are lower than traditional students on a college or university campus. The following research outlines a quantitative study for the perceived effect of social learning for adult online learners through hybrid coursework on undergraduate retention rates through two research questions using a causal-comparative design for research question one and a correlational design for research question two. This study examined retention theory in regards to social learning by comparing the participation of adult online learners who enrolled in a blended online and on-campus hybrid course to those who solely took online courses. It also studied the relationship between number of hybrid courses taken by online students and retention. It was found through a chi-square test of independence for research question one that there was a statistically significant difference between fully online and hybrid course students with retention rates, as hybrid students retained at a higher percentage. In addition, a bivariate correlation was conducted for the second research question and found there was no statistically significant relationship between the increased number of hybrid courses taken and student retention. The results of this study provided a better understanding of the effect that hybrid courses had on retention rates of adult online learners in higher education.