A Meta-Analysis of Online Learning Outcomes and Their Gender Differences

A Meta-Analysis of Online Learning Outcomes and Their Gender Differences

Zhonggen Yu, Liheng Yu
Copyright: © 2021 |Pages: 18
DOI: 10.4018/IJDET.2021070103
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In this COVID-19 pandemic, learners across the world are encouraged to stay at home receiving online education, which has nearly caused various learning outcomes. It is thus necessary to analyze online learning outcomes, as well as their gender differences to provide constructive references for learners, teachers, and technology developers. This study obtained reliable data from various databases using searching techniques. The study also selected the research articles based on inclusion and exclusion criteria. After analyzing the forest and funnel plots drawn via Review Manager 5.3, the study arrived at the conclusion that online learning outcomes were significantly higher than the traditional learning outcomes with a large effect size (d = 1.24), while the gender differences in learning outcomes were not significant with a small effect size (d = -0.03). In the future, experts could make every effort to develop advanced emotion detection applications via interdisciplinary cooperation to improve online learning outcomes.
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Online Learning Outcomes

During the COVID-19 pandemic, learners are encouraged to stay at home receiving online education, which has nearly suffocated them and greatly influenced learning outcomes. An increasing number of teachers and students are using information technologies to deliver and acquire knowledge for convenience of pedagogy and data availability (Bonk & Graham, 2005). The recent decade has been witnessing a growing interest in application and research of information technologies (Yu, Zhu, Yang, & Chen, 2019; Yu, 2015), as well as blended, online and hybrid pedagogical approaches, which are referred to as online learning and teaching approaches in this study. While there have been a great number of researches into online learning outcomes, the results are inconsistent and controversial (Margulieux, McCracken, & Catrambone, 2016).

Many studies reported that online pedagogical approaches improved learning outcomes, compared with those without technological support. However, many studies also reported no significant gains in learning outcomes whether the pedagogy is supported by technologies or not. This controversial result neither supports nor refutes gains in online learning outcomes (Margulieux, McCracken, & Catrambone, 2016). The controversy over online learning outcomes may have originated from different samples in various independent studies. Recent studies have explored the stress brought about by the online learning through content analysis (Akpnar, 2021), student feedback to online learning through a mathematics video comic module (Sipayung, Imelda, Siswono, & Masriyah, 2021), learners’ online learning satisfaction and self-efficacy via a self-administered survey (Yandra, Alsolami, Sopacua, & Prajogo, 2021), and online creative thinking ability through the Problem Based Learning model (Purba, 2021). Very few, however, have examined the pooled online learning outcomes through a meta-analysis. A meta-analysis that explored the pooled result by combining numerous studies is, therefore, necessary and meaningful. The meta-analysis offers a new method to summarize online learning outcomes. The advantages of the proposed method concerning other ways in the literature are that it could quantitatively and precisely measure the effect of a give variable in a certain environment and it could also provide a quantitative reference for future research.

Gender Differences in Online Learning

There are also many studies committed to gender differences in online learning. Female learners were more satisfied with online learning compared with males (González-Gómez, Guardiola, Martín Rodríguez, & Montero Alonso, 2012). However, it is argued that males are significantly more satisfied with and hold more positive attitudes toward online learning than females (Lu & Chiou, 2010). Furthermore, others reveal no significant gender differences in online learning in terms of satisfaction and attitudes (Cuadrado-García, Ruiz-Molina, & Montoro-Pons, 2010), or learning outcomes (Chu, 2010). Females could do better in problem-solving, quantitative computations, and graph interpretation, while males were skillful in spatial reasoning (Lowrie & Jorgensen, 2011). Considering the controversies in gender differences and relatively fewer studies summarizing the findings, it is meaningful to examine gender differences in online learning outcomes through a meta-analysis.

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