The Effectiveness of Online Learning on Nontraditional Students' Experiences in Online Modalities

Layale Ajamy, Tennessee State University


This qualitative descriptive research aimed to examine and determine the effectiveness of online education by addressing the challenges of the nontraditional student experience while taking fully online asynchronous courses versus synchronous ones. The study strived to determine new approaches to enhance online education and increase teaching presence and community in asynchronous delivery, to help online faculty, administrators, and college leaders better accommodate nontraditional students toward better and quality learning. Data were collected from survey research questions that the researcher created and validated through a panel of experts. The survey included demographic information and open-ended questionnaires. The researcher conducted one-on-one semi-structured interviews with nontraditional graduate students (N= 8). Further, the researcher of this study conducted a focus group interview with graduate professors (N= 5) to obtain an in-depth understanding of nontraditional students' experiences in online modalities. The study was guided by the community of inquiry theoretical framework. A qualitative descriptive study was selected to acquire a thick description of students' experiences in their own voices. The unit of analysis was qualitative data from semi-structured and focus group interviews. Manual coding with thematic analysis was employed to construct codes and themes. The study discovered six major emerging themes. This study added value to the effectiveness of online learning by providing rich descriptions through the views of nontraditional students and professors. It contributed to online learning advancement and innovation by adding the flexibility element to synchronous and asynchronous online modes of delivery, resulting in adult learner satisfaction and success in online learning.

Subject Area

Education|Educational leadership|Educational technology

Recommended Citation

Layale Ajamy, "The Effectiveness of Online Learning on Nontraditional Students' Experiences in Online Modalities" (2023). ETD Collection for Tennessee State University. Paper AAI30693267.