The purpose of this phenomenological study was to explore the lived experiences and perspectives of students currently enrolled in or graduates within the last 3 years from a unique blended learning program at Sunshine High School and Sunshine iAcademy, schools in California. This study also sought to describe how these schools address the needs of high school students in a 21st century learning environment. The two theoretical frameworks used to drive this study were social constructivism and personalized learning theory. This qualitative study was conducted in a single school district that offers some students a blended learning program: part of their school schedule takes place at the comprehensive high school and the other part of their schedule is offered via the district's iAcademy. Seven current students and one graduate within the past 3 years participated in in-depth, semi-structured individual interviews. The interview instrument used researcher-developed questions aligning with four themes identified in the research as influencing high school graduation rates, including personalized schools, rigorous and relevant curriculum, assistance to students, and qualified instructional staff (Dianda, 2008). The study resulted in six conclusions based on the analysis and interpretation of the study findings: flexible learning schedule, alternative pathway for education, supportive, diverse learning styles, extended learning supports, and multiple motivations to enter a blended learning program. Participants shared that the blended learning program was a supportive one that offered them a flexible learning schedule so they could participate in their extracurricular activities. Each student had varying learning needs; participants shared that the blended learning program accommodated their diverse learning styles. Participants felt that extended learning supports would enhance the program.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Dissertations (EdD) -- Leadership, administration, and policy; Education, Secondary -- California, Southern -- Computer-assisted instruction; High school students -- Effect of technological innovations on -- California, Southern; Blended learning -- California, Southern -- Evaluation

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graduate School of Education and Psychology



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

Purrington, Linda;