Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Adult and Lifelong Learning (EdD)

Degree Level



Rehabilitation, Human Resources and Communication Disorders


Kenda Grover

Committee Member

Kit Kacirek

Second Committee Member

Kay Murphy


graduate school, student retention, online learning, cohort learning, hybrid learning


Graduate enrollment in the United States is increasing. With the advent of the cohort learning model and online delivery methods, adult learners now have greater access to higher education. The cohort learning model, which is based on elements of Community of Practice, has been shown to provide learners with a sense of community while also having a positive impact on retention. In a hybrid cohort-based learning model, many institutions provide the convenience of both online and face-to-face classes. Doctoral student attrition remains high, ranging from 40-50% across all programs, with rates as high as 70% in Education programs. The purpose of this qualitative case study is to explore how doctoral students experience Community of Practice while enrolled in a hybrid cohort-based education program. Specifically, this study examines student perceptions about how Community of Practice impacted their learning and retention.