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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