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Week 11 Assignment: Capstone Paper

Angel Winslow

EDD: Early Childhood Education, Walden University

EDDD 8113- Tools for Doctoral Research

Instructor: Steven Wells

October 30, 2021


Working Title

The Impact of Virtual Learning on Academic Success in Early Childhood Education 


The outbreak of the COVID 19 pandemic has brought major changes in the ways in which students acquire knowledge in early childhood educational settings. During the 2020-2021 school year when the pandemic forced schools to pivot to a virtual environment, school readiness goals were not met, and children’s scores decreased by 25%. Virtual learning is increasingly being promoted by educational policymakers to replace face-to-face models during the COVID-19 pandemic (Dhawan, 2020). This decision is informed by the desire to maintain young children’s learning while preventing the spread of the disease among the children population (Kaden, 2020). However, parents, teachers, and learners’ beliefs and attitudes towards its efficacy in accomplishing the desired academic outcomes remain largely unexplored by past and contemporary scholars (Avgerinou & Moros, 2020). This phenomenon is widely attributed to the newness of the technology among early learners. Many schools in North America closed in-person learning following the outbreak of the pandemic. Therefore, there is a need to conduct research that directly responds to this concern by assessing the distinct challenges associated with remote teaching and learning and its impact on academic success in early childhood education contexts.

Problem Statement

The problem is little is understood about the perceived influence of virtual learning technologies on learning outcomes of early childhood students. Adedoyin & Soykan, (2020) inferred that additional research into worthwhile modes of virtual learning is needed in view of health crises past and present. Similarly, Timmons et al. (2021) observed that the paucity of studies examining the impacts of distance education in early childhood learning settings is that its use became pronounced only after the CODID 19 outbreak. Furthermore, Kim (2020) stated that virtual learning became ubiquitous because of the pandemic during 2020.

Evidence from the Local Setting 

This problem also exists in an urban Head Start Center in a Southern State. This is evidenced by the director of the Head Start center who stated that little is understood about the way virtual instruction has affected learning outcomes (personal communication, Oct. 21, 2021). Also, the data from school readiness goals (personal communication, Oct. 21, 2021) supports the existence of this problem in the following ways. In this respect, the agency reports that existing studies only focus on its efficacy in higher learning institutions. However, such contexts, the technologies, improve learning experience and increase student-teacher interactions.

The Gap in Practice

This problem in the existing gaps in studies examining the effects of virtual learning technologies on educational success in early childhood educational settings is largely attributed to its newness in such contexts (Gillett-Swan, 2017). Researchers have found a strong positive correlation between their use in higher learning and educational success. Educators have attempted to use the technology to improve learning outcomes among children aged between 4 and 5 years. For instance, Turnbull (2019) suggests that one of the best practices in utilizing such technologies is to familiarize teachers and students with how they operate. Additionally, collaborating with parents can encourage students to adopt the technology to generate positive learning outcomes (Dong et al., 2020).

Purpose Statement 

The purpose of this quantitative study is to determine the relationship between adoption of virtual learning technologies in early childhood education settings and students’ academic performance? This will include determining whether the implementation of distance education tools improves students’ academic outcomes. As part of the research process, the study will investigate if it reduces or improves students’’ academic performance.


What is the theory or conceptual framework?

However, Siemens (2004), stated the connectivism theory holds that the learning experiences and processes as they exist in the real-world are not wholly represented. According to the model, a complete educational system incorporates an element of community and global connectivity. Thus, it recommends the adoption of technologies that enhance integrated and coordinated learning processes, such as electronic devices, videoconferencing, and social media tools. More importantly, the theory suggests that such technologies optimize student engagement and experience, translating in improved academic performance.

Why it is Appropriate for the Study?

The theory is important in understanding the incorporation of virtual learning technologies in early childhood education settings. More specifically, it places emphasis on the importance of sharing of information thoughts, and values to improve academic outcomes. To this end, the framework acknowledges that technology is a critical component of the learning process as it improves the process of coordination, connection, and sharing of knowledge across different learning groups.

Guiding the Purpose, Data Collection, and Analysis

The key tenets of the theory guide the process of gathering, and analyzing data in varying ways. For instance, it provides insights into the questions that should be asked during interactions with participants. Additionally, it directs the analysis process by using it principles, such as knowledge sharing to guide the types of data that should be gathered. For instance, the theory is largely linked to the correlational analysis, which will form the basis of this study.

Two Recent Educational Studies that have used the Theory

Numerous researchers have employed the connectivism theory to explore the effects of technology on learning. Azlain (2019), for instance, investigate the role of social networking sites such as Google Plus and Edmondo, in promoting collaborative e-learning based on connectivity. His results suggest that such technologies optimize collaborative and supportive learning processes. Similarly, Mattar (2018) examine how connectivsim-related learning can be utilized in the fields of educational technology. The findings suggest that web 2 technologies enhance student learning experience and overall performance.

Research Question(s)

QN Relationship (Correlation) Boilerplate

 RQ1: What is the relationship between adoption of virtual learning technologies in early childhood education settings and students’ academic performance?

H0: There is no statistically significant relationship between adoption of virtual learning technologies and academic performance among early childhood learners in the United States.

Ha: There is statistically significant relationship between adoption of virtual learning technologies and academic performance among early childhood learners in the United States.

Boilerplate for QL research question

RQ 1: How do early childhood education learners perceive the adoption of virtual learning technologies with respect to their academic performance?



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