Kimmel Education and Research Center


Date of this Version



This manuscript was originally published in the Conference Proceedings of the 2006 Distance Learning Administration held in Jekyll Island, GA.


I recently graduated with my Ph.D., and I have had a variety of experiences during my college career. For example, I have been both a traditional student and a nontraditional learner. I have also studied at a distance. A variety of educational and professional experiences have enabled me develop some powerful insights on what it takes to be a successful nontraditional learner. One of the most important lessons I have learned is that it is important to develop learners’ human and social capital in order to help them increase their chances of success. First, this paper will present my experiences as a learner and a distance education professional. Second, this paper will discuss the insights I have developed. Finally, this paper will provide students, instructors and administrators with practical advice designed to improve the experiences of this growing group of students.