Guidance on the Use of Learning Strategies in Distance Education (DE) as a Function of Age and Gender

Guidance on the Use of Learning Strategies in Distance Education (DE) as a Function of Age and Gender

Paula Mariza Zedu Alliprandini, Marilza Aparecida Pavesi, Dayanne Vicentini, Juliane Tiemi Sekitani
DOI: 10.4018/IJICTE.2015070105
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This study aims to determine whether there are differences in the use of learning strategies used by students enrolled in courses offered in the format of Distance Learning (DL) by gender and age of participants. A total of 402 students responded to a range of learning strategies evaluations - version adapted for distance learning, containing 49 closed items () and an open question. Part of the data collection was conducted online and the other part in person. The results show significant differences on the use of cognitive and meta-cognitive strategies and by gender and showed that female participants are more strategic than male. Significant differences were also noted in the use of cognitive strategies regarding the age variable, with younger participants being less strategic than others. These results provide important educational implications for distance education.
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Numerous experiments and theoretical discussions have been concerned with the quality of long distance learning, especially in Brazil, as a recent modality of education, winning the formal status from LDB 9394/96 (Act of Guidelines and Bases of National Education), being regulated by Decree Law 5.622/2006.

By the late twentieth and early twenty-first century, teachers faced many challenges on the development of the teaching-learning process. These challenges have gained new dimensions with the greater presence and spreading of information technologies and communication (Siboldi & Salvo, 1998, p. 13) and, therefore, the need for change is attributed to the educational system, to meet these new challenges, bringing repercussions especially to the school space-time (Valente, 1993, 2000a, 2000b).

However, there is no guarantee due to several factors, that everyone has access to education. Thus, according to Islam (2007) “long distance learning is considered an important alternative to offer these aspiring students an opportunity for education”, since it is flexible to the elements “age, gender, geographical location and class attendance” (Islam, 2011, p. 103).

Coll and Monereo (2010) claim that in the new educational scenarios of mobile technologies, educational process should occur where there are available and appropriated technologies to measure the learning process between students and teachers. The authors also claim that Educational Psychology, as a field that studies psychological changes that occur in people as a result of their participation in educational activities and situations, should put in prime location the study of changes caused by the total or partial use of ICTs. They then assume, an analysis of speeches, practices, processes and outcomes of educational processes supported by ICT.

Given the distance learning student's need of having to deal independently with their learning, it becomes important to know the strategies they use, because according to Kearley and Moore (apud Abbad, Correa & Meneses, 2010, p. 48), this type of education requires new ways of behavior by the students, such as thinking and acting independently, making right choices, reflecting on their own learning and having self-control over their own activities, considered by authors as crucial for the effectiveness of DL situations, characterized by low dialogue and great transactional distance.

Nevertheless, it is noted, both in national and international literature, a dearth of studies concerned in investigating this question. Even more scarce are researches that investigate the strategies used by long distance students (Andrade & Alliprandini, 2011; Góes & Alliprandini, 2013; Pavesi & Alliprandini, 2013; Zerbini & Abbad, 2008).

In classroom education, on several levels of education, learning strategies have been widely discussed having studies about learning strategies in elementary school (Costa, 2000, 2005; Gomes, 2002, among others) and university level (Zenorini, 2002; Cardoso, 2002; Kopke Filho, 2002; Oliveira, Boruchovitch & Santos, 2001).

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