Gender differences in college students' behaviors in an online question-answer discussion activity

Shan Shan Cheng, Eric Zhi Feng Liu, Nian Shing Chen, Ru Chu Shih, Chiung Sui Chang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Social cognitive theory emphasizes the relationship among personal (P), behavioral (B), and environmental (E) factors. This study draws on the social cognitive perspective to examine the relationship among gender, learning performance, and online behaviors in an online question-answer discussion activity. Online behaviors include the number of times a student logs in, asks questions, and gives responses. Questions are classified as either administrative, factual, comprehensive, or integrated. A total of 105 junior college students majoring in Information Management (MIS) (48 female and 57 male students) from northern Taiwan took a face-to-face General English Proficiency Test (GEPT) preparation course. The students used a discussion forum to ask questions, answer questions, discuss related issues, and exchange learning information. The results indicate that gender differences (P) resulted in different online discussion behaviors (B). In addition, the types of question asked (E) by male and female students (P) were different. Based on the relationships found among these variables, this study provides some suggestions to teachers for better facilitating learning in discussion forums.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)244-256
Number of pages13
JournalAsia-Pacific Education Researcher
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2012


  • Computer-mediated communication
  • Gender differences
  • Improving online learning
  • Interactive learning environments


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