This case study illustrates design and development research, an innovative-based option to commonly used survey or experimental research design. Educational researchers have for many years conducted research that include exploration of perceptions, measurement of learner's psychological traits, modelling educational attainment and case-based research such as action research in schools. Design and development research systemically and systematically identifies an instructional problem; analyses needs and requirements; designs, develops, and implements an intervention and then evaluates the intervention's practicality and effectiveness. This case study addresses the needs of adult online distance learners and offers a learning support that may be beneficial to learners, especially during the early stages of their learning endeavour. It presents a design and development research which was conceived as an option to constructively respond to the perplexing phenomena of high attrition and dropout among online distance learners despite various communicative and enabling components (email, social networks and online resources) offered by learning and delivery technologies. The distinctive feature of the research is the needs-based design and the developmental approach that takes into consideration a cultural perspective and the affective component of the individual learner.