Degree Name

EdD (Doctor of Education)


Educational Leadership

Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Terrence A. Tollefson

Committee Members

Jasmine R. Renner, Kathryn K. Franklin, Marie Tedesco


In the postmodern Information Age (digital and wireless) with the expanded globalization of economies worldwide, there has been a vast transformation of workplace and educational systems. Thus, new meanings for educational practices and learning are evolving. Medical and social literature has suggested that learning throughout the lifetime is the key to successful living. The literature proposed that all types of education (formal, informal, and nonformal) may be a factor in the total well-being of the increasingly older adult population. Consequently, there is an increased need to understand the characteristics, traits, beliefs, and attitudes that generate the incentive for individuals to become lifelong learners.

The purpose of this study was to examine the life of Elizabeth Armetta Gammon Pendleton and identify the characteristics, personality traits, beliefs, and attitudes that distinguish her as a lifelong learner. From an interpretivist perspective, this study assumed that all reality is internal. The rationale of this educational biography was to explore the phenomenon of lifelong learning while also celebrating the unique life of Elizabeth Pendleton. This study employed a detailed narrative description of her life and interviews with people who knew her to construct and develop a theory grounded in oral and traditional history under the framework of lifelong learning.

As a native of a small rural community in the Appalachian Mountains, Pendleton lived a healthy and optimistic life as a student, teacher, leader, and role model for her family, friends, coworkers, and community members. She experienced formal, informal, and nonformal learning for 95 years. Although she never used the phrase "lifelong learner," she certainly had an inclination toward lifelong learning.

The value of this study of Pendleton's life journey emerges in the form of naturalistic and user (reader) generalizations within the framework of lifelong learning. The study of Elizabeth Pendleton's life journey yielded valuable insights that provide an understanding of the phenomenon of lifelong learning and the challenges that researchers, educators, employers, and individuals face as new meanings for educational practices and learning evolve.

Document Type

Dissertation - unrestricted


Copyright by the authors.