Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Christopher S. Cale


Many at-risk students attending an alternative high school in a northwestern state were not graduating on-time even after a learner-centered blended learning model was implemented. The administration and teachers sought to understand why the change to a learner-centered program was only slightly increasing the graduation rate each year. The purpose of this qualitative case study was to explore how the learner-centered instructional strategies used within a blended learning model were being implemented and supporting at-risk students. Weimer's learner-centered framework was used to ground the study and guide the research questions which examined teacher and student perspectives about the learner-centered instructional strategies that were being implemented. Interviews were conducted with 6 teachers from diverse disciplines who had taught at the study site for 3 or more years, 4 recent graduates, and 6 current students who were 18 years old or older. Classroom observations of the 6 teachers were conducted and archived student surveys from the previous 2 years were collected. All data were analyzed and coded to identify common themes and strategies regarding learner-centered instruction. The findings indicated the teachers needed professional development in how to implement learner-centered and blended learning strategies and how to help students take responsibility for their education. A yearlong professional development program focused on how to use learner-centered and blended instructional strategies was developed for teachers. Implementation of appropriate learner-centered and blended learning strategies might result in students completing their courses and increased graduation rates. As more students graduate, instead of dropping out, positive social change will occur in the community as they responsibly enter the work force.