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Gender Differences in Digital Literacy Games: Efficacy, Strategies, Experiences and Learning Outcomes
 

Gender Differences in Digital Literacy Games: Efficacy, Strategies, Experiences and Learning Outcomes

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In the use of digital technologies, it has been suggested that females are sometimes in a disadvantageous position compared to males due to their lack of confidence, interest and skills. This ...

In the use of digital technologies, it has been suggested that females are sometimes in a disadvantageous position compared to males due to their lack of confidence, interest and skills. This disadvantage manifests itself in lower levels of digital literacy. Theory of flow (Csikszentmihalyi & Csikszentmihalyi, 2000) and social cognitive theory (Bandura, 1986) suggest that the positive experiences individuals have in a gaming environment might increase interest in digital technologies, and improve skills and usage of digital technologies. The purpose of this paper was hence twofold: to understand gender differences in the process and outcomes of engaging with a game that challenges the participants’ skills and knowledge on digital literacy, and to test the efficacy of learning games in the context of digital literacy. We empirically studied 77 college seniors who were enrolled in a communication and technology class. Results showed no gender differences in terms of self-efficacy in using digital technologies, game performance or enjoyment of the digital literacy game. However, there were gender differences in participants’ description of their cognitive experiences, in the strategies they employed during gameplay, and their perceived learning outcomes. Results of this study challenged the literature in gender gap in observed digital literacy skills, and showed the significant differences in experiences and strategies employed by males and females to achieve similar scores. This study also proposed that helping females explore their cognitive game strategies may enhance sense of mastery and self-efficacy, and encourage females to engage in digital technologies in the future.

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  • Females were more likely to rate the game as cognitively demanding (59%) or neutral (42%). Males were more likely to rate the game low (8%) or neutral (63%) in terms of cognitive demand, and only 29 percent of males rated the game cognitively demanding.
  • Most females (90%) rated the contest neutrally, while 21% of Males rated the contest highly, and 71% neutrally. Thus, males were significantly more likely to rate the contest highly than females.
  • Females largely chose two strategies during the game, seeking to complete the easy questions first (48%), or completing the questions in the order given (37%). Males, though were more distributed in their gaming strategies, although they were more likely to complete the questions in the order given (38%), than any other option.
  • Males were much more likely to report learning about new resources for information (54%), or nothing at all (17%). Females were much more likely to report learning about resources for information (26%), strategies for finding information (21%), but also (unlike males) learning something about themselves (self-appraisal, 25%).

Gender Differences in Digital Literacy Games: Efficacy, Strategies, Experiences and Learning Outcomes Gender Differences in Digital Literacy Games: Efficacy, Strategies, Experiences and Learning Outcomes Presentation Transcript

  • GENDER DIFFERENCES IN DIGITAL LITERACY GAMES: EFFICACY, STRATEGIES, EXPERIENCES AND LEARNING OUTCOMES Zeynep Tanes & Lorraine Kisselburgh Purdue University February 18, 2011
  • Rationale
    • Physical access to digital technologies has been increasing (Lenhart, et al., 2008).
    • However, females’ confidence, interest level and skills lag behind males (Van Dijk & Hacker, 2003).
    • Female students can be at a disadvantage compared to their fellow male students.
      • The nature of how female college students experience digital technologies should be examined.
  • Research Questions
    • What are the processes and outcomes of engaging with a digital literacy game that challenges the participants’ skills and knowledge on digital literacy?
    • What is the role of gender in the relationship between self-efficacy, gaming strategies, gaming experiences, and the perceived learning outcomes of engaging with a digital literacy game?
  • Literature
    • Social Cognitive Theory and Digital Technologies
      • Self-efficacy (Bandura, 1986; 1997)
        • Determinant of future behavior
      • Digital technology self-efficacy: Individuals’ perceptions of their abilities to correctly use digital technologies, such as computers and internet technologies (Hargittai, 2010) .
  • Gender and Self-Efficacy
    • Females have less confidence in their skills and knowledge of such technologies (Van Dijk & Hacker, 2003).
    • H1: Females will have lower self-efficacy in using digital technologies compared to males.
  • Gaming Experience
    • Affect - Theory of Flow (Csikszentmihalyi & Csikszentmihalyi, 1988)
      • Optimum state of mind when in a state of flow which evokes high enjoyment
      • Skills – boredom and anxiety
      • vs. enjoyment
    • Cognition - Social Cognitive Theory (Bandura, 1986)
      • Individuals adjust their goals based on their experiences and expectations – if it is beneficial, I will do it.
      • Maintain self-efficacy
    Salen & Zimmerman, 2004, p.351
  • Gender and Gaming Experience
    • RQ1: How do players experience the digital literacy game?
    • H2: There will be no gender difference in affective or cognitive experience of the digital literacy game.
  • Game Strategies
    • Social Cognitive Theory (Bandura, 2001)
      • Individuals regulate their behaviors by adopting strategies in order to achieve a sense of self-respect (Stipek, 2002) .
      • Contradictory findings in females’ gaming strategies (Blumberg & Sokol, 2004)
      • Gaming experience and perceived expertise =>
      • more specific and elaborate strategies
      • (Blumberg, Rosenthal & Randall, 2008) .
  • Gender and Game Strategies
    • H5: Males will employ elaborate gaming strategies, while females will employ simple gaming strategies.
  • Performance and Learning
    • Video games are effective tools for (Ritterfeld & Weber, 2006)
      • learning new knowledge,
      • acquisition of skills, and
      • practicing proper behaviors .
    • Motivation
      • comes from the positive and meaningful gaming experience (Gee, 2007).
  • Game Performance ≠ Learning
    • Learning to play the game ≠ learning from the game (Ang, Avni & Zaphiris, 2008) .
    • Hargittai and Shaffer (2006) study showed
      • no gender differences on digital literacy performance,
      • even though females had significantly lower self-efficacy in their digital literacy skills.
  • Gender, Performance and Learning
    • RQ3: What are the perceived learning outcomes of the digital literacy game?
    • H8: There will be no gender difference in the game performance.
    • H12: Perceived learning outcomes will be different across gender.
  • Methods
    • Sample
      • 77 college students enrolled in a senior level required course
      • 69% female.
    • Questionnaire
      • Self-administered online questionnaire after gameplay.
    • Procedures
      • All students across 4 recitations participated in the contest as a scheduled lab activity.
      • 3 minute voluntary questionnaire after gameplay.
      • The top-scoring players received a $5 gift card.
  • The instrument
    • Digital Literacy Contest (Daniel Poynter)
      • Register for appropriate session at DigitalLiteracyContest.org
      • Work individually
      • 30 minutes to answer 15 questions
      • Points for correct answers
      • Penalized for incorrect answers
      • No penalty for omitted questions
      • Hit “answer” after each question
  • Measures
    • Gender
    • Enjoyment , “ How much did you enjoy the Digital Literacy Contest?, ” [1-5]
    • Strategy , multiple-choice question “ What was your strategy throughout the contest?, ” [Random; Given Order; EasyFirst; LowPointsFirst; HighPointsFirst]
    • Learning , “ In one sentence, what did you learn from the game?” Answers subject to content analysis, [self-appraisal, information resources, strategy, scope, challenge, concerns, nothing]
    • Experience , “ In 1-3 words, how would you describe your experience with the Digital Literacy Contest today? ” Answers subject to content analysis, [Affect, Cognitive, Rating, Novelty and overall Experience Score]
  • Results Gender and Self-Efficacy – H1
    • No significant difference between males (M=2.43, SD=.64) and females (M=2.68, SD=.71) on Self-Efficacy in terms of general use of digital technologies, F(1,52)= 1.43, p>.05, η 2 =.03.
  • Gender and Game Experience – H2
    • No significant relationship between Gender and Experience-Affective , χ 2 (2, N=77) = 1.372, p = .503.
    • A significant relationship between Gender and Experience-Cognitive , χ 2 (2, N=77) = 8.810, p = .012.
  • Game Experience (cont.)
    • Significant relationship between Gender and Experience-Rating , χ 2 (2, N=77) = 6.232, p = .044.
  • Gender and Strategy - H5
    • A nearly significant relationship between gender and strategy, χ 2 (4, N=76) = 8.909, p = .062.
  • Gender and Performance
    • Gender and performance - H8 - supported
      • No gender difference on game performance scores, F (4, 73) = .253, p = .907.
  • Perceived Learning Outcomes
    • Learning outcomes reported by the participants:
  • Gender and Learning - H14
    • A significant relationship between perceived Learning outcomes and Gender, χ 2 (6, N=77) = 22.244, p = .001.
  • Discussion
    • Digital literacy game challenged college seniors in their skills of finding targeted information online.
    • Our purpose was to explore the relationship between self-efficacy, gaming experience, gaming strategies, and learning outcomes across gender.
  • In summary,
    • Gender differences in
      • Cognitive experience (not in affective experience)
      • Experience ratings
      • Gaming strategies (almost)
      • Perceived learning outcomes (not in game performance)
      • Not in self-efficacy
  • In summary,
    • Game strategies related to
      • Game experience
    • Game performance related to
      • Enjoyment
      • Self-efficacy (almost)
      • Not strategy
    • Perceived learning outcomes related to
      • Experience
      • Strategy
      • Not self-efficacy
  • Implications
    • Design of digital literacy games
      • Importance of creating enjoyable learning experiences
    • Learning new information and positive experience
      • Cognitive challenge
    • Encouraging females self-explore their cognitive game strategies may enhance sense of game mastery and self-efficacy
      • Games are ‘safe ways’ to make females realize their capacities.
      • Games may encourage females to engage in relevant tasks in the future.
  • Future Research
    • Study can be repeated with more participants and with different audience, i.e. college freshman.
    • More research on diminishing gender differences in digital literacy performance and self-efficacy
    • The reasons why females adopt different strategies and the nature of these strategies should be explored with empirical studies.