Exploring the Impact of Learner-Learner Interactions on Sense of Community in an Online Doctoral Degree Program

Date of Award


Degree Name

Ed.D. in Leadership for Organizations


Department of Educational Administration


Advisor: Ricardo Garcia


In this study, the impact of learner-learner interactions on sense of community in an online doctoral degree program is explored through a quasi-experimental mixed methods approach. Survey data and analysis from 46 enrolled students in an online EdD program at a private religiously affiliated Midwestern research university, along with qualitative interviews from 20 participants, suggest a positive link between sustained learner-learner interactions and the development of a meaningful sense of community among online students. The research findings emphasize the importance of intentional program design that ensures continuous opportunities for virtual learners to engage with one another. The implications of this study underscore the evolving nature of online education, urging university leaders, faculty, staff, and students to proactively engage in its ongoing development while recognizing the inherent value learner communities provide as essential wellsprings of intellectual exploration in the digital age.


learner-learner interactions, sense of community, online learning, online sense of community, online graduate education, online doctoral degree, scholar-practitioner, doctor of education, EdD, online EdD, learner isolation, online student experience

Rights Statement

Copyright © 2023, author.