Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Kerry Burner


K-12 schools are more commonly using online learning to supplement traditional classroom learning. Previous online adult education researchers have found no significant differences between traditional and online learning outcomes. However, little research has been done with regard to online General Educational Development (GED)-level learning for adults. The purpose of this quantitative study was to explore the effect of the Skills Tutor program compared with traditional learning on GED student achievement in reading/language arts. The Skills Tutor program was used as a means to address the low GED graduation rates at an adult education program through Memphis City Schools. This research was based on the constructivist learning theory. The research question examined the effect of an online skills program on English/language arts scores among GED students. Scores from the pretests and posttests of 40 adult education students were analyzed using analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) to determine statistical differences between 2 groups. One group (n = 20) received the intervention of the online skills program, Skills Tutor, along with traditional instruction, whereas the other group (n = 20) received traditional instruction delivered by the teacher only. The results indicated the traditional group's adjusted mean scores were significantly higher than the Skills Tutor group scores. Recommendations included additional research with larger samples of students, for a longer period, and focused on the fidelity of implementing of the Skills Tutor program at the local site. Implications for positive social change include providing research findings to the local administration on the current GED program and recommendations for continued research on the instruction that best supports adult learning.