Academic journal article Educational Technology & Society

Gender Differences in Self-Regulated Online Learning Environment

Academic journal article Educational Technology & Society

Gender Differences in Self-Regulated Online Learning Environment

Article excerpt

Introduction

Distance education has evolved from print-based correspondence courses to interactive web-based courses over time. Recently, the development of Internet technologies such as the World Wide Web and online communication tools has had an important impact on distance education course. These technologies help educators to create interactive web-based courses which integrate text, graphics, and audio-video materials that can enhance teaching and learning interactivities and also enable learners to continue their education in a more flexible and convenience way (Simonson et al., 2006).

The popularity of this type of distance education format encourage many educational institutions to make decisions about the future of web-based learning at their institution in regard to increasing the number of web-based courses and replacing some traditional courses with web-based courses. This situation is verified by recent institutional survey researches showing that the number of online courses and programs has increased drastically in the recent years (e.g. Allen & Seaman, 2004). Also, it is verified that students learn as effectively when they are attending online courses as compared to when they learn in a traditional face-to-face courses (Simonson et al., 2006).

Distance education environments can be thought to be more democratic than traditional approaches regarding breaking down barriers to higher education for many groups in spite of not solving all their problems. It has been recommended as a good option for especially female students trying to balance multiple roles and demands on their personal life. In view of the fact that distance education allows female having heavy family responsibilities, financial stresses and other works to both stay at home and study (Home, 1998; Kramarae, 2003; Sullivan, 2001).

As a result, it could be said that male and female might be different in several ways while attending in online courses due to their dissimilar responsibilities in their life. Researchers stated that people are not naturally sharply divided into two categories, but, in the literature they agreed that there is a need for more research on gender debate about differences and similarities from learning strategies to performance (e.g. Bidjerano 2005; Chyung, 2007; Lee, 2002; Price, 2006; Rovai & Baker, 2005). This type of study can be constructive for both online course designers and instructors to make rational decisions regarding how to facilitate online instruction and how to minimize gender-related differences in online environments. Therefore, in this paper, we aimed at discussing gender differences in self-regulate learning components, motivational beliefs and achievement in an online course.

Gender Differences in Online Learning

At the beginning years, Internet has been a male-dominated technology. On the other hand, recent studies showed that access to technology and computer literacy level among female and male students have not been appearing problem as done before (Gunn et al. 2003; Ono & Zavodny, 2003). In addition, the gender gap in Internet use has narrowed over the past several years and now greater numbers of female than men have come online (Kramarae, 2003; Rickert & Sacharow, 2000; Price, 2006).

In the literature, gender based differences in education have been recognized as an important focus for research for a long time, especially, since increasing number of online female students. When reviewing gender related studies, the effects of this variable are inconclusive on student experience in distance education. Actually, numbers of studies showed that male and female students experience the online environment differently with respect to several ways, such as, performances, motivations, perceptions, study habits, and communication behaviors (e.g. Chyung, 2007; Gunn et al., 2003; Price, 2006; Rovai & Baker, 2005; Sullivan, 2001; Taplin & Jegede, 2001), on the other hand, several results suggested that gender effects are insignificant (e. …

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