Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctorate of Education, Ed.D.


College of Education



First Advisor

Brianna Parsons, Ed.D.

Second Advisor

Audrey Rabas, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

William Boozang, Ed.D.


With increased access to higher education through online delivery mediums, it is necessary to evaluate the impact of the learning environment on disadvantaged populations such as female students. As the online learning classroom challenges through distance, isolation, and communication, these factors can influence a positive perception of the learning environment and interfere with deep learning. This qualitative study explored female perceptions of metacognitive development within the online learning environment, as metacognition is a core element of academic success in higher education. Through the design of the conceptual framework and with the support of the literature review, a methodology was selected to holistically explore the female experience in light of deep learning achievement and their use of metacognitive practices. Participants were recruited according to selective criteria and engaged in the study through semistructured interviews, personal journal entries, and the presentation of an artifact. A meticulous coding process was used to analyze the data, which revealed four primary themes and nine subthemes. The analysis supports the importance of metacognitive development as influential in course completion, yet offered insight into factors affecting a positive perception of the learning environment. Key themes of identity, community, self-efficacy, and surface learning prompted a critical look at implications for future practice and policy within the online learning context. A response to these implications that will generate a more targeted metacognitive focus should include a stronger teacher presence within the online classroom, diversified instructional methods, and an increased endorsement of the value of the online classroom community.