Cathy Gunn


A significant increase in the use of computer-supported learning (CSL) within schools and universities across the world gives rise to concern about gender-related differences in performance and interaction style in these environments. Research has shown that initial perceptions of CSL environments as democratic and offering equal opportunities to all students were flawed because interactions that take place through electronic channels lose none of the socio-cultural complexity or gender imbalance that exists within society. Much of the recent literature states that women are disadvantaged because of inferior levels of access and technology literacy and dominant male behavior. However, the assumption that difference implies disadvantage is challenged by evidence that variable factors such as professed confidence and apparently dominant interaction styles do not necessarily lead to better educational opportunity and performance. This paper contains a summary of gender-related issues identified by international research and academic practice together with supportive case study examples. The conclusion is that women often perform better than men despite the observable differences in interaction style.


Learning Effectiveness,Gender

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