Document Type



Doctor of Education


Educational Practice

Date of Defense


Graduate Advisor

Shawn R. Woodhouse, Ph.D.


Jennifer Simms, Ph.D.


Shawn R. Woodhouse, Ph.D.

Jennifer Simms, Ph.D.

Christiane Hubbard Jackson, Ph.D.


As adult learners over 50 continue to pursue higher education, postsecondary institutions should have resources and services available to support this demographic. Previous research often combines Plus 50 students with all nontraditional students 24 years and older, making it difficult to understand the unique needs and learning experiences of older adult students in the academic environment. The use of technology for curriculum has increased significantly over the years and may present challenges for Plus 50 learners as they are introduced to it and learn to navigate it. The purpose of this study was to explore the experiences of Plus 50 students when they used technology in undergraduate courses. This phenomenological research study employed a purposeful homogenous sampling method to identify 10 Plus 50 participants at a 4-year institution in the Midwest. Malcolm Knowles’ theories of andragogy and self-directed learning served as appropriate frameworks for this study allowing the researchers to gain a more holistic understanding of how Plus 50 students used technology in their classes.

The data from this research will contribute to the body of scholarship regarding the experiences of Plus 50 students and their use of technology in undergraduate classes. In addition, institutional stakeholders can use the findings from this study as a guide when reviewing curriculum and policy to support the needs of this unique student demographic. This research can also serve as a resource for Plus 50 students and provide them with insights on how to advocate for their learning needs and be adequately prepared when enrolling in courses that use technology.