Degree Date


Document Type

Dissertation - Public Access

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Academic Discipline

Adult and Continuing Education

First Advisor

Randee Lipson Lawrence, Ed.D.

Second Advisor

Thomas Heaney, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Claudia Miller, Ph.D.


With the growing popularity of adult education programs in higher education, older working adults have more options for completing their bachelor‘s degrees. Accelerated degree-completion programs emerged in the 1970s and have gained popularity over the years. These programs are an option for adults to complete their studies without disrupting their schedules. The purpose of this research study was to understand the lived experiences of adult learners in an accelerated undergraduate degree-completion program. This was a qualitative study using a phenomenological research methodology and the theoretical framework of transformative learning. The literature review discussed relevant research addressing both accelerated programs and transformative learning. There were fourteen participants in the study who were recent graduates of an accelerated undergraduate degree-completion program. The research method included a combination of semi-structured interviews and a review of reflection papers written by the participants. The findings revealed the emergence of the following four themes: motivation, value of collaborative process, pedagogy and self concept, with related subthemes identified. The findings indicated that many participants experienced transformation as a result of their educational experience. Since accelerated learning in higher education is not confined to undergraduate students, future research studies might focus on graduates of an online accelerated undergraduate program or an online or face-to-face accelerated master degree program.