Date of Conferral
Colleges and universities face some retention problems for female adult learners over the age of 25 who face technical requirements in higher education courses. However, little is known about how technology influences the experiences of female adult learners. The purpose of this basic qualitative study was to identify how female adult learners over the age of 25 perceived the technical demands of the courses in their degree programs and how they coped with those demands. The conceptual frameworks for the study were the adult learning theory, which focuses on self-directed learning, and the transactional distance theory. Participants for this study were 12 female adult learners who reside in Tennessee who have been enrolled in undergraduate and graduate courses and were over the age of 25. Data sources included face-to-face and phone interviews. Data were analyzed using open coding to identify patterns and themes. The findings of this study indicated that participants were influenced by the technical demands they faced. Participants attributed the extent of success in their courses to the level of technical competence they possessed during their time as students. Participants used individual coping strategies in their courses as well as resources provided by the institutions they attended. This study contributes to positive social change because it provides information that higher education institutions can use to both increase retention and help female adult learners succeed during their higher education careers.