Today, as learning and technology intersect each other in institutions worldwide, implications about the ways of engagement, how women and men are going to engage in online education have emerged as a matter of concern. The development of online education requires researchers with a higher understanding to consider how their students are going to engage and find ways that ensure the learning environment should be user-friendly.
Today, online learning is in the reach of every learner, despite that it is a matter of concern that students are not participating in online lectures. Further, it is observed that men and women engage in a much different manner when it comes to online learning. McKnight-Tutein and Thackaberry (2011) asserted that there was strong evidence that suggests that women learn in a much different manner than men, which makes women more successful in the online learning environment.
Gender is an issue in Online Learning
One of the most important characteristics that have a major impact on students’ perceptions of online learning is gender. Further, some researchers suggest that males have more favorable perceptions when it comes to online learning. For example, according to the examinations of Kay (1992), gender differences when it comes to the behavior toward computers, males had more positive attitudes toward computers, and usually have more access to computers than females. Further investigations of Comber, Colley, Hargreaves, and Dorn (1997) on the effects of age, gender, and prior computing experience on attitudes of students toward computers in students concluded that males have more positive attitudes toward computers than females. Also, when we talk about the majority of those who owned or had access to computers at home and thus have a wider general experience of computing, were males. However, females belonging to young age show equal interests in computers, but this only in the case of younger students.
Hence, concerning online learning students, the above evaluation studies focus on gender differences in three major areas:
- Access and control over resources
If we talk about online learning, the internet is indeed within the reach of everyone and many women have discovered it. Further, it is also true, and as many researchers conclude that gender differences still exist today in many countries, whenever we talk about exposure of technologies and resources. Moreover, women are more likely to leave the purchasing decisions on their partners and always remain less likely to be the main user.
- Know-how and computer literacy
Females have less Internet access than men, and hence they have to rely slightly more on the provision of technology through different study centers or other external sources. Moreover, women seem less familiar with computers than men when it comes to technology. However, women are more good learners than men and can show more patience when it comes to online learning.
- Learning styles and communication preferences
Researchers conclude that women have more patience than men and thus find it easy to concentrate on online learning rather than men who find it very hard to concentrate and avoid distractions. Further, women are more attentive listeners than men and hence score more in online learning.
Gender is still an issue in online learning, but now the world is changing faster than ever. Today, every new technology is eliminating the word gender inequality. Hence, those days are not far when people will think and amaze about the time when gender inequality was a word.