Date of Conferral
Dennis E. Beck
The issue of high school dropouts has been an ongoing concern for educators, community stakeholders, and politicians on local, national, and global levels. Little was known about students' experiences before they enrolled in a workforce development program and how their earlier experiences may have caused them to drop out of high school. The purpose of this qualitative descriptive case study was to understand the school-related experiences of high school dropouts enrolled in a workforce development program, and how the innovation and integration of social media technologies during academic instruction helped reengage these learners. The research questions focused on how the participants described their personal and academic experiences before they dropped out of high school, their collaborative learning and social-relational experiences while enrolled in the New Hope workforce development program, and how the infusion of social media technologies during academic instruction impacted their development. Yin's descriptive qualitative case study model was used to capture the academic and social experiences of 20 program participants from one-on-one interviews and focus groups. Cross-unit evaluation was used to identify emerging codes and themes. Results revealed the importance of sustainable relationships between the students and instructors. Findings may be used to promote functional learning communities with conscientious and compassionate instructors.