Navigating postsecondary learning during dual enrolment: the transition experience of a group of students in Minnesota, U.S.

Johnson, Joel Thomas (2022) Navigating postsecondary learning during dual enrolment: the transition experience of a group of students in Minnesota, U.S. Ed.D thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Despite the increase in dual enrolment (DE) programs in Minnesota and throughout the United States, there has been little research on the transition experiences of DE students to understand the challenges encountered and the approaches they use to manage their postsecondary learning. The purpose of this study is to investigate how a group of students navigated postsecondary learning while participating in a dual enrolment (DE) program. A single case study approach was adopted to explore the experience of 16 current DE students at a private university in Minnesota. Semi-structured interviews were used with students and instructors, along with a student focus group, to help understand and enter into the participants’ lived experiences. Transition and self-regulated learning theories were utilised to assist in interpreting the findings.

The findings revealed that both social and academic factors were significant in the transition experience of the DE students. Participants experienced challenges adapting to the new university environment and could hold exaggerated views of how difficult DE courses would be. Student desire to be accepted and to establish social connections at the university was strong but at the same time feelings of loneliness and disconnection were common. With this in mind, participants made intentional effort to start well and to create systems to monitor their progress. If they hit an obstacle while working through a course, they would attempt to maintain progress although this was difficult at times. Over time, student self-confidence increased as they became familiar with the environment and developed the necessary skills to successfully navigate DE courses. Adapting previous strategies for DE was found to be particularly helpful.

The study concludes that to avoid DE students trying to succeed as lone, independent learners, institutions should facilitate social connections, such as through robust onboarding and orientation activities, and provide ongoing opportunities to integrate these students into the community. In addition, instructors play a critical role in supporting student progression and helping students feel a sense of belonging. If students are able to feel confident and take greater ownership for their learning, as expected in postsecondary contexts, they will likely be more successful. This can be accommodated in part by educating students on the effective use of self-regulated learning principles. A critical application of the selected theoretical lenses on the study’s findings resulted in the introduction of a new conceptual model, Learning in the Dual Enrolment Landscape, to portray the transition experience of DE students.

Item Type: Thesis (Ed.D)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Subjects: L Education > LB Theory and practice of education
Colleges/Schools: College of Social Sciences > School of Education
Supervisor's Name: Doyle, Dr. Lesley
Date of Award: 2022
Depositing User: Theses Team
Unique ID: glathesis:2022-83224
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 25 Oct 2022 10:10
Last Modified: 25 Oct 2022 10:14
Thesis DOI: 10.5525/gla.thesis.83224

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