Doctorate in Teaching and Learning: Adult Learning Degree

Doctor of Education in Teaching and Learning: Adult Learning (Qualitative Research)

Offered By: College of Doctoral Studies

Study Research-Based Strategies To Improve Adult Learning

The Doctor of Education (EdD) in Teaching and Learning: Adult Learning degree at Grand Canyon University is designed for those who wish to not only teach, but to also lead collegiate and adult learners. This doctorate teaches you how to prepare for and practice research-based strategies that can improve adult education learning.

Graduates with an EdD in teaching and learning can strive to become leaders at the college and university level, working to bring positive experiences to postsecondary and adult learners. With exposure to coursework in teaching adult learning, you will have opportunities to examine industry trends, as well as to implement new strategies based on research you’ve personally conducted.

The College of Doctoral Studies at GCU has identified goals within adult learning that graduates must meet:

  • Evaluating adult learning theories
  • Synthesizing adult learning theory with worldview
  • Analyzing the nature of cognitive coaching
  • Supporting the necessity of transformative learning
  • Proposing applications of adult learning strategies
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Benefits of Qualitative Research for Adult Education Learning at GCU

The doctorate in teaching and learning program allows you to engage in your own research, which may make a positive contribution to the overall body of knowledge in your field. This EdD program engages you in qualitative research in adult learning with the intent to generate new research and improve methods of adult learning.

Qualitative research is an exploratory research method that focuses on finding meaning and motivation through observation and analysis that is independent of numerical data.1 Throughout the qualitative EdD program, you will have the opportunity to employ qualitative research methodology to conduct your dissertation.

GCU strives to make higher education as accessible as possible. With our interactive learning platform, you can complete coursework for your doctorate in teaching from virtually anywhere. Access your course materials online and work virtually with your dissertation advisor as you develop the shape and structure of your original research. Much of the program can be completed entirely online.2 However, to provide the benefit of in-person interactions and hands-on work, you will also complete in-person residencies near our campus.

GCU also provides this EdD as a hybrid learning option for those who wish to take courses in person and online. You can attend flexibly scheduled evening classes at our campus, which may fit around your current obligations. In-person evening classes allow you the opportunity to discuss academic ideas face-to-face with your fellow learners and instructors. Through the hybrid format, you will also attend in-person residencies for further interaction with your instructors and peers.

Doctorate in Adult Education Course Topics

Leadership and research in adult education are the main focus of this doctorate degree in teaching and learning. As a doctoral student, you will complete original research projects with a focus on adult education. This research is conducted with the purpose of uncovering new strategies and theories about adult learning. You will then have the opportunity to apply these new ideas with adult learners with the intent of creating positive educational outcomes, such as mentorship, coaching and collaboration.

Research topics can come from anywhere in the doctorate in teaching and learning degree coursework. For example, you might develop your dissertation research topic as you:

  • Explore practical foundations of education
  • Examine current educational practices
  • Reflect on child and adult teaching and learning theories
  • Conceptualize educational philosophy
  • Dive into existing academic research to study methodology

Career Options for Graduates With a Doctorate in Adult Education

When you graduate with a doctorate in teaching and learning, you may be ready to pursue a position as an educator who has the ability to make an impact on the lives of adult learners. With a firm foundation in adult education competencies, you may look for career opportunities at:

  • Junior colleges
  • Two- or four-year colleges or universities
  • Professional schools
  • Technical programs
  • Trade schools

Interdisciplinary competencies may enable additional career opportunities in specialized areas, such as business schools or computer and management training programs.

Earn an Adult Learning Degree From an Institutionally Accredited University

The quality of one’s education is important, so before choosing a doctorate in teaching program, you should carefully consider the quality and reputation of the university. GCU is proud to have institutional accreditation by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). GCU strives to graduate practice-ready professionals who are prepared to make a positive impact on their communities.

Doctorate in Teaching and Learning: Adult Learning Degree FAQs

Earning a doctorate degree in any field requires a considerable investment of time and resources. Before you make the decision to enroll in this terminal degree, you should take the time to research your options. Use the following FAQs and answers to get started.

An EdD degree is a type of terminal degree. Although each university establishes its own graduation requirements, it is customary for doctoral learners to be required to complete a dissertation in order to earn their degree.

At GCU, doctorate in teaching students will complete a dissertation project that consists of original research in the field, followed by a dissertation defense. You will have on-campus residencies, which provide opportunities to receive in-depth guidance on the development of your dissertation. Furthermore, the College of Doctoral Studies integrates the dissertation process directly into the coursework, which means you can get started on your work right away.

An adult learning degree is best suited for someone who wishes to work in the education field. With a doctorate in teaching adult learners, you might pursue potential positions at a university or college. Other options include teaching at trade schools or professional schools. Some graduates might go on to pursue positions at technical training programs, or they may work on training and development programs for corporations.3 You may also choose to stay in K-12 education and use your skills to position yourself for possible leadership opportunities.

As GCU, we understand that many of you choose to continue working while studying for your doctorate. Therefore, the EdD degree is available through convenient online courses or a hybrid option, which combines online and in-person evening classes. You will also attend in-person residencies during your doctorate in adult learning degree program, offering you the opportunity to network and connect with your peers and instructors.

If you desire to make an impact in education by teaching and coaching other adults, an adult education degree may be the right path for you. Find out by learning more about this EdD at GCU.

 

If seeking licensure or certification, applicants to the program are responsible for contacting their state department of education for licensure requirements and program approval. In addition, fingerprint and background clearance is required.

1 Mcleod, S., PhD. (2023, Sept. 25). Qualitative vs. quantitative research methods & data analysis. Simply Psychology. Retrieved Oct. 3, 2023.

2 Online courses exclude programs with residencies and field experience.

3 Online EdD Programs. (2023, Feb. 1). Online EdD programs in adult education, career education and lifelong learning. Online EdD Programs. Retrieved Oct. 3, 2023.

Alumni Doctoral Degree Scholarship
Now Available

GCU alumni enrolling in a doctoral program for the first time may be eligible for a $2,000 scholarship.§

 

§ MOU-Alumni 2000 Doctoral-Feb2024: The Alumni Scholarship for Doctoral Programs is only valid for those applicants who submit a complete application and begin a Doctoral program in February 2024. This scholarship cannot be used in conjunction with any other GCU scholarship or awards and only applies to online and evening programs. Please speak to a university counselor for complete details.

Time to Completion and Dissertation Process

To learn more about time to completion and the dissertation process at GCU, visit our doctoral page.

Course List

Major:
60 credits
Degree Requirements:
60 credits

Core Courses

Course Description

This course introduces doctoral learners to the principle elements of research, scholarly writing, and effective argumentation. Learners are made aware of the dispositions and expectations of doctoral researchers as well as the University’s overarching values and beliefs regarding research and the responsibility of scholars to contribute new knowledge to their respective fields of study. Learners begin the process of identifying a researchable dissertation topic and are acquainted with appropriate scholarly resources that support the development of the dissertation.

Course Description

In this course, learners are introduced to the critical reading of scholarly qualitative and quantitative literature at the doctoral level. Learners also explore the concept of synthesizing the scholarly literature to identify problems and problem spaces that emerge to form a researchable topic of study. The application of scholarly argumentation from the extant literature to defend the need for a research study is discussed.

Course Description

The course presents a foundation of historic and philosophic ideas in teaching and learning. Learners are encouraged to consider the connections between history, philosophy, teaching, and learning as well as the influence of these concepts on the development of a personal philosophy of teaching and learning.

Course Description

The course provides a chronological overview of learning theories and their common applications. Connections between theory and philosophy of teaching and learning are explored.

Course Description

In this course, learners are introduced to key components of qualitative and quantitative research designs and the means to critically appraise the application of research designs as observed in the scholarly literature. The University's core research designs are presented. Consideration is given to the initial selection and defense of a research design to address a problem that emerged from the extant literature.

Course Description

This residency allows learners to continue developing their skills as academic researchers. Learners will have hands-on experience applying quantitative and qualitative design principals to develop the foundational elements for their potential dissertation studies. Prerequisite: RES-850, RES-825, RES-831, or RCS-831.

Course Description

This course provides an introduction to the sampling, data collection, and data analysis methods employed in qualitative and quantitative research designs. Learners explore the alignment of sampling, data collection, and data analysis methods to the research topic, research questions, and research design. The course positions learners to select qualitative or quantitative designs for their dissertation studies. Prerequisite: RES-831.

Course Description

The course presents theories and models of adult learning for consideration. Potential applications of the theories and models are discussed as are current trends in adult learning.

Course Description

This course connects key concepts in worldview to adult learning. Learners are encouraged to synthesize worldview and adult learning concepts as they move toward the development or refinement of a personal worldview.

Course Description

The course outlines the process of transformational learning and discusses its application to adult learning. The notions of practitioners as transformational catalysts and the influence of transformation learning on adult learning design are also addressed.

Course Description

In this course, learners explore the basic components of GCU qualitative core research designs including descriptive, case study, and phenomenology. The nature of epistemological foundations and the structure of problem statements, purpose statements, research questions, data sources, collection and analysis approaches are discussed in the context of each design.

Course Description

In this course, learners differentiate the epistemological foundations and explore the data trustworthiness, research ethics, and potential for bias in descriptive, case study, and phenomenology research designs. The process of building a rationale for design choice and aligning the research questions, interview questions, problem statement, and purpose statement is addressed. Sources of qualitative data are introduced for each design, and ethical aspects of research are discussed. Prerequisite: RES-841.

Course Description

This course addresses the current mindset surrounding the notion of collaboration and proposes a paradigm shift to a mindset that redefines collaboration and integrates it with coaching and mentoring. The course includes a discussion of strategies employed by coaches/mentors to support leadership and ensure a positive organizational culture.

Course Description

In this residency, learners orally present and defend an expanded design of their preliminary dissertation research from RSD-851. Emphasis is placed on developing the qualitative dissertation. Prerequisite: RES-843.

Course Description

The course considers the application of adult learning theory and philosophy of adult learning as they lead to solutions for enhanced teaching and learning. Connections between theory and practice are highlighted.

Course Description

In this course, learners apply the skills of the practitioner-scholar. They are self-motivated and committed to reflective practice. They actively seek input from other scholars while continuing to design independent research under the guidance of the dissertation committee. Prerequisite: RES-871, TLC-885, RSD-883, or RSD-884.

Course Description

In this course, learners explore qualitative data collection techniques and sources of qualitative data in the context of answering the research questions posed by a study. Consideration is given to the recognition of data saturation and the management of data. Learners continue to work with their respective dissertation chairs to prepare a written statement of data collection, and management activities. Prerequisite: RES-843.

Course Description

In this course, learners apply the skills of the practitioner-scholar. They are self-motivated and committed to reflective practice. They actively seek input from other scholars while continuing to design and/or conduct independent research under the guidance of the dissertation committee. Prerequisite: TLC-955.

Course Description

In this course, learners focus on the interpretation of qualitative data to produce written research findings, results, and implications. Learners continue to work with their respective dissertation chairs and apply information from this course to move ahead in the dissertation process. Prerequisite: RES-873.

Course Description

In this course, learners apply the skills of the practitioner-scholar. They are self-motivated and committed to reflective practice. They actively seek input from other scholars while continuing to design and/or conduct independent research under the guidance of the dissertation committee. Prerequisite: TLC-960.

Continuation Courses

The course identified above represent the minimum academic course requirements only. Most students will also need to take one or more of the following Research Continuation Courses to complete a dissertation. Research Continuation Courses are 3-credit courses charged at the standard doctoral per credit rate.

Course Description

This course emphasizes the finalization of the dissertation and provides learners with individualized support for completing their dissertation journey. Learners continue to work directly with their dissertation chair and committee members based on their individual progress plan for completing their dissertation. Prerequisite: TLC-965.

Course Description

This course emphasizes the finalization of the dissertation and provides learners with individualized support for completing their dissertation journey. Learners continue to work directly with their dissertation chair and committee members based on their individual progress plan for completing their dissertation. Prerequisite: TLC-966.

Course Description

This course emphasizes the finalization of the dissertation and provides learners with individualized support for completing their dissertation journey. Learners continue to work directly with their dissertation chair and committee members based on their individual progress plan for completing their dissertation. Prerequisite: TLC-967.

Course Description

This course emphasizes the finalization of the dissertation and provides learners with individualized support for completing their dissertation journey. Learners continue to work directly with their dissertation chair and committee members based on their individual progress plan for completing their dissertation. Prerequisite: TLC-968.

Course Description

This course emphasizes the finalization of the dissertation and provides learners with individualized support for completing their dissertation journey. Learners continue to work directly with their dissertation chair and committee members based on their individual progress plan for completing their dissertation. Prerequisite: TLC-969.

Course Description

This course emphasizes the finalization of the dissertation and provides learners with individualized support for completing their dissertation journey. Learners continue to work directly with their dissertation chair and committee members based on their individual progress plan for completing their dissertation. Prerequisite: TLC-970.

Course Description

This course emphasizes the finalization of the dissertation and provides learners with individualized support for completing their dissertation journey. Learners continue to work directly with their dissertation chair and committee members based on their individual progress plan for completing their dissertation. Prerequisite: Prerequisite: TLC-971.

Course Description

This course emphasizes the finalization of the dissertation and provides learners with individualized support for completing their dissertation journey. Learners continue to work directly with their dissertation chair and committee members based on their individual progress plan for completing their dissertation. Prerequisite: TLC-972.

Course Description

This course emphasizes the finalization of the dissertation and provides learners with individualized support for completing their dissertation journey. Learners continue to work directly with their dissertation chair and committee members based on their individual progress plan for completing their dissertation. Prerequisite: TLC-973.

Continuation Courses

The course identified above represent the minimum academic course requirements only. Most students will also need to take one or more of the following Research Continuation Courses to complete a dissertation. Research Continuation Courses are 3-credit courses charged at the standard doctoral per credit rate.

Course Description

This course emphasizes the finalization of the dissertation and provides learners with individualized support for completing their dissertation journey. Learners continue to work directly with their dissertation chair and committee members based on their individual progress plan for completing their dissertation. Prerequisite: TLC-965.

Course Description

This course emphasizes the finalization of the dissertation and provides learners with individualized support for completing their dissertation journey. Learners continue to work directly with their dissertation chair and committee members based on their individual progress plan for completing their dissertation. Prerequisite: TLC-966.

Course Description

This course emphasizes the finalization of the dissertation and provides learners with individualized support for completing their dissertation journey. Learners continue to work directly with their dissertation chair and committee members based on their individual progress plan for completing their dissertation. Prerequisite: TLC-967.

Course Description

This course emphasizes the finalization of the dissertation and provides learners with individualized support for completing their dissertation journey. Learners continue to work directly with their dissertation chair and committee members based on their individual progress plan for completing their dissertation. Prerequisite: TLC-968.

Course Description

This course emphasizes the finalization of the dissertation and provides learners with individualized support for completing their dissertation journey. Learners continue to work directly with their dissertation chair and committee members based on their individual progress plan for completing their dissertation. Prerequisite: TLC-969.

Course Description

This course emphasizes the finalization of the dissertation and provides learners with individualized support for completing their dissertation journey. Learners continue to work directly with their dissertation chair and committee members based on their individual progress plan for completing their dissertation. Prerequisite: TLC-970.

Course Description

This course emphasizes the finalization of the dissertation and provides learners with individualized support for completing their dissertation journey. Learners continue to work directly with their dissertation chair and committee members based on their individual progress plan for completing their dissertation. Prerequisite: Prerequisite: TLC-971.

Course Description

This course emphasizes the finalization of the dissertation and provides learners with individualized support for completing their dissertation journey. Learners continue to work directly with their dissertation chair and committee members based on their individual progress plan for completing their dissertation. Prerequisite: TLC-972.

Course Description

This course emphasizes the finalization of the dissertation and provides learners with individualized support for completing their dissertation journey. Learners continue to work directly with their dissertation chair and committee members based on their individual progress plan for completing their dissertation. Prerequisite: TLC-973.

GCU Online Student


Pursue a next-generation education with an online degree from Grand Canyon University. Earn your degree with convenience and flexibility with online courses that let you study anytime, anywhere.

GCU Evening Student


Grand Canyon University’s evening programs cater to the demands of working professionals who prefer an in-person learning environment. Our night classes meet just once per week and offer the interaction and discussion of a typical college classroom.

* Please note that this list may contain programs and courses not presently offered, as availability may vary depending on class size, enrollment and other contributing factors. If you are interested in a program or course listed herein please first contact your University Counselor for the most current information regarding availability.

* Please refer to the Academic Catalog for more information. Programs or courses subject to change.

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