Gender, Intrasexual Competition, and Online Learning

 Maryanne Fisher1, Anthony Cox2, Melissa Gray1
1Saint Mary's University, 2Dalhousie University


It has been well established that women are more likely to complete online courses than men (e.g., Young, Dewstow, & McSporran, 1999). The existing literature attempts to elucidate the reasons for this gender difference. Often, the provided explanations are based on the idea that such courses allow for flexibility in time management which permits students to better balance work and family life while completing a course. As an alternative, we suggest that anonymity and the fact that it removes the student from any possibility of intrasexual competition is of even greater significance for women, especially younger women. We first review the existing literature pertaining to online learning and gender, followed by a discussion on intrasexual competition. We then propose that the reason young women turn to online courses is to decrease intrasexual competition. The remainder of the paper provides suggestions for course instructors and important considerations for reducing intrasexual competition in online learning environments.

If you would like to read the entire contribution, please click here.



e-learning, distance learning, distance education, online learning, higher education, DE, blended learning, ICT, information and communication technology, internet, collaborative learning, learning management system, MOOC, interaction, LMS,

Current issue on De Gruyter Online

– electronic content hosting and distribution platform

EURODL is indexed by ERIC

– the Education Resources Information Center, the world's largest digital library of education literature

EURODL is indexed by DOAJ

– the Directory of Open Access Journals

EURODL is indexed by Cabells

– the Cabell's Directories

EURODL is indexed by EBSCO

– the EBSCO Publishing – EBSCOhost Online Research Databases

For new referees

If you would like to referee articles for EURODL, please write to the Chief Editor Ulrich Bernath, including a brief CV and your area of interest.