The 21st century is the century of technology and World Wide Web platform which is bringing changes into many realms. Probably, the most significant and useful changes were brought into educational field. The platforms of online learning, computer mediated collaborative learning and distance education are expanding with the speed of light. Due to the expansion of online learning environment, there have been much papers and reports written on this topic as well. At the rise of online learning programs and distance education, papers mostly focused on advantages and disadvantages of online learning, while now, when online learning has become inseparable part of whole educational system, there appeared papers discussing more specific and narrow topics in depth. One of those topics which I found interesting and worth sharing is about “Gender difference in online learning environment”
Several decades ago Internet was of mostly male usage, because of both male’s high interest and high technology literacy level. Recent studies show that Internet usage is shared equally among males and females. (Price, 2006) In contrast, for the past several years females are utilizing more the services of online learning. It is explained by the fact that female students execute and balance many functions like: being a mother, wife and employee at the same time. (Yukselturk & Bulut, 2009) It seems that online learning is the most convenient mode of learning that allows women to combine studies with the rest multifunctional roles. (Kramarae, 2003; Rickert & Sacharow, 2000; Price, 2006 as cited in Yukselturk & Bulut, 2009)
The study by Yukselturk and Bulut (2009) “Gender differences in self-regulated online learning environment” analyzed this topic in terms self- regulated learning components, motivational beliefs and achievement in self-regulated learning environment. The findings do not report significant differences in motivational beliefs and achievement relatively to online learning. In contrast, the study by Price (2006) “Gender differences and similarities in online courses: challenging stereotypical views of women” refutes the stereotypical view that women are less successful in sciences and technology. Moreover, the study also found that female students even outperform their male counterparts in online learning (Price, 2006). As a reason the study points to the significant difference in the way males and females participate and perform tasks in computer mediated communication, for instance, women posted and read more messages than males.(Kramarae, 2003; Sulluvan, 2001 as cited in Price, 2006)
Overall, I think, despite the differences in performance and in the ways male and female work on online platform, we cannot deny that both male and female benefit a lot from online learning environment in terms of knowledge acquisition and time management. What do you think about these findings?