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Journal Article

Pilot Program of Online Learning in Three Small High Schools: Considerations of Learning Styles  pp353-366

Abigail Garthwait

© Jul 2014 Volume 12 Issue 4, Editor: Dr Rikke ├śrngreen and Dr Karin Tweddell Levinsen, pp313 - 410

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Abstract: This case study was conducted in three schools in Maine, United States. The goal of this qualitative research was two‑fold: to describe the process used by a small educational consortium as it initiated formal online education, and to view this experience through the lens of students' preferred learning styles. The United States does not have a national curriculum. While the government of Maine offers some state‑level support for schools, many educational issues and initiatives are controlled a t the local level. Additionally, Maine is one of the most rural states in the country and the isolated nature of these schools adds to the dearth of curricular opportunities for students ages 14‑18. Data was collected using the Felder & Solomon (1993) Learning Styles Questionnaire and semi‑structured, bi‑semester interviews with ten students. Open and axial coding was used to identify themes, which were subsequently triangulated with a document review and the two sets of interviews with the three adul t coordinators. Findings fell within two groupings: data that substantiated prior research, and data that offer contradictory conclusions. Learning styles have an important place in online learning. However transactional distance, teacher response time, group work, and school filtering issues also emerged as critical. Conclusions carry implications for online educators, school administrators, and policy makers


Keywords: Keywords: online education, secondary education, learning styles, case study, transactional distance


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