Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Tina J. Pitt


Adults who are unsuccessful in completing their educational program will not receive the needed certification or diploma to be competitive in a global economy and job market. The completion percentage of adult basic education learners remains low at an adult basic education site in a Western state. The purpose of this study was to better understand the various experiences of the successful adult learner and the different ways they used goal setting strategies to complete their programs. This basic qualitative study was guided by Knowles’ theory of andragogy. The guiding research questions asked adult learners what learning experiences and goal setting strategies contributed to their success. Data collection occurred through individual, semistructured phone interviews of 12 purposefully selected adult basic education learners during the last two sessions of program completion. Data were analyzed using a thematic approach with precoding, open, and axial coding. Participants indicated that because they had supportive relationships with others and a positive disposition, they were able to achieve their academic goals. The participants also reported using a set of life skills and study strategies to complete their educational goals. Since facilitators reach a large number of adult learners, the findings from the study will be presented in 3-day, professional development to facilitators at adult basic education sites to better assist with meeting the needs of the adult learner. This endeavor may contribute to positive social change by focusing on improving experiences and strategies of unsuccessful adult learners, thus helping them become more competitive for employment in today’s global economy.