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In 2013, approximately 5.3 million students took an online course in the United States—a 3.7% increase, when compared with 2012. This growth in e-learning may impact sport participation and the educational experience of student-athletes. This change creates various challenges and opportunities for those who support student-athletes’ educational development. Therefore, using the zone for proximal development and scaffolding theory, the purpose of this investigation was to determine the role student-athlete support services staff play in ensuring the effectiveness and quality of e-learning, and to identify strategies and best practices associated with e-learning. Qualitative interviews were conducted with directors of student-athlete support service organizations within Division I athletics. Results of the analysis engendered three central themes: (a) faculty relations, (b) lack of formal assessment, and (c) educational opportunities. The results aligned with the tenets of the zone of proximal development and scaffolding theory. In addition, a framework to assist student-athletes’ development is presented.
McNiff is with Flagler College, St. Augustine, FL. Aicher is with the Sport Administration Program, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH.