Document Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Curriculum & Instruction

First Advisor

Susan Gapp


This phenomenological study explored fourth-grade students' perspectives on the barriers and successes they experienced in flexible blended learning. Focus group interviews were conducted to gain insight into the students' motivation, perceived barriers, possible changes, and their own skills and characteristics for success. Thematic analysis was used to identify themes that addressed the research questions. Students identified several barriers to participation in flexible blended learning. Internal distractions, such as losing focus, and external distractions caused by disruptive behavior by classmates were barriers. Students found video lessons to be passive learning experiences that lacked flexibility. Technology problems and glitches were also identified as a hindrance to their learning progress, leading to frustration and affecting their motivation. Despite these barriers, the students identified several motivating aspects of flexible blended learning, such as autonomy, mastery, and self-directed learning. Gamification was also mentioned as an engagement tool, with students finding computer games and software fun and engaging. Time management and work completion were identified as essential success characteristics, along with the need to manage time effectively, prioritize tasks, and do easier tasks first before moving on to harder ones. Respect and responsibility were also mentioned as crucial characteristics for success in flexible blended learning. The students also discussed changes they would like to see in the flexible blended learning classroom, with the main theme being the need for more flexibility and adaptability in the learning experience. They also expressed a desire for more teacher support and guidance, particularly with independent work. Overall, this study contributes to the current knowledge on elementary students' feelings and experiences in flexible blended learning environments. The findings can be used to inform the development of strategies to support students' engagement and success in flexible blended learning. Further research is needed to explore how teachers can provide effective support and guidance to students in these environments, and how to balance the need for structure and flexibility in the learning experience.

Subject Categories

Education | Elementary Education and Teaching | Teacher Education and Professional Development


barrier in blended learning, Blended learning, Flexible blended Learning, motivations in blended learning, Technology

Number of Pages



University of South Dakota



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