Exploring the Psychological Benefits of Using an Emerging Video Technology to Coach and Retain Doctoral Learners

June Maul, Ronald Berman, Cathrine (Cathy) Ames
International Journal of Doctoral Studies  •  Volume 13  •  2018  •  pp. 049-078

Retention of doctoral students, particularly during the dissertation stage, has been a decades-old concern. The study examined the value of dissertation chairs’ use of a cloud-based video technology for coaching doctoral students, and its influence on psychological factors previously linked to retention. The psychological aspects included social presence, research self-efficacy, social isolation, and motivation

Prior research identified the importance of addressing psychological factors that lead to student retention and the development of future researchers capable of producing quality research.

An exploratory case study included a survey of dissertation chairs, interviews of dissertation chairs and doctoral students, and review of documents and artifacts in a university in the southwestern United States.

The findings revealed several aspects of the video technology that dissertation chairs and their doctoral students identified as valuable from a psychological perspective, and there were several unexpected findings.

Coaching using an emerging video technology positively influenced psychological factors leading to improved research self-efficacy, scholarly writing, efficiency and effectiveness of the academic coaching process, which resulted in student retention. Students identified the relationship established with their dissertation chair while using video technology led to their decision to remain in the doctoral program.

Use coaching opportunities to develop research self-efficacy as well as to increase social presence, which will help reduce social isolation and increase student retention.

Integrate emerging cloud-based video technologies for conducting research to engage multiple researchers at different locations.

This virtual coaching approach can improve the research capabilities and reten-tion of doctoral students in today’s online world during the dissertation phase.

To validate the relationships found in this study, future research should focus on the quantitative aspects of the psychological factors identified in this study.

emerging technology, video meeting technology, virtual coaching, doctoral stu-dent coaching, doctoral student retention, social presence, research self-efficacy, social isolation, intrinsic motivation, web conferencing
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