Online Courses, Special Education, ADHD


The goal of this research study was to investigate the perception of self as learner for students with Specific Learning Disabilities (SLD) or with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Students who had completed at least one mathematics or science course at Florida Virtual School, an online learning environment, were surveyed concerning their perception of self as learner in the online learning environment and in the traditional learning environment in 6 basic areas: feelings of success; level of comfort; relationship with teachers; and access to, communication with and feedback from teachers; and advantages and disadvantages of each learning environment. Results of parent interviews and anecdotal evidences were also included as data informing the results of this study. The results of this study showed that 1) a greater number of students reported feeling successful in the online environment. 2) the majority of students in all groups reported feeling comfortable in the online learning environment, 98% as compared to 65% in traditional environment. Student comfort in both environments was most frequently related to some element of the environment with a high percentage of mention of disruption caused by peers. 3) Students reported having positive relationships with their online teachers to a higher degree than with their traditional teachers. 4) Students generally felt that access to, communication with, and feedback from instructors, in the online environment had the greatest impact on them and the impact was positive. 5) The most frequently mentioned advantage of the online environment were, flexibility of time, pace and place of learning. Students liked being in control of the time, place, and pace of their learning in the online environment. Students perceived issues with socialization as the greatest disadvantage of the online environment. For the traditional environment, students indicated that the presence of their peers for social interaction and academic interaction was the greatest advantage. The disadvantages in the traditional environment disadvantage in the traditional environment were issues with time, place, and pace of learning, class size, and disruptions caused by other students. 6) Overall, the majority of students indicated that they felt the online learning environment provided them, as a learner, with the greatest number of advantages.


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Graduation Date





Everett, Robert


Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)


College of Education


Teaching and Learning Principles

Degree Program

Curriculum and Instruction








Release Date

May 2005

Length of Campus-only Access


Access Status

Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)