The impact of gender socialization on women's learned technological helplessness and its andragogical implications
Joy Elise Harris, University of Missouri - Saint Louis, United States
University of Missouri - Saint Louis . Awarded
This research investigated a proposed construct of learned technological helplessness (LTH) in female adult learners, which is believed to be impacted by socialization into traditional gender roles, teacher modeling, and age. A two-pronged approach was used to examine women’s attitudes and beliefs about their abilities to use technology as a learning and personal productivity tool. Participants were females, over age 18, on two campuses of a public Midwest research university.
Prior to the primary research, a pilot study (n=204) was undertaken for the purpose of creating a teacher modeling instrument, which measured how teachers model the use of technology. The pilot study was necessary, as there are no known instruments that measure teacher modeling of technology.
Phase one of the primary study (n=236) used the Bem Sex Role Inventory (BSRI) to measure socialization into traditional gender roles. The General Computer Self-Efficacy (GCSE) instrument was used to measure general technological self-efficacy.
A path analysis was performed to address the primary research question, “Do age, teacher modeling, and the socialization of women into traditional female roles relate to technological self-efficacy in a way that is consistent with the construct of learned technological helplessness?” Despite the goodness of fit, as determined by the path analysis, the model does not support the hypothesis that socialization into traditional female roles mediates the relationship between age and technological self-efficacy (TSE).
A subsample (n=3) of women, who rated themselves as having low TSE, participated in a second phase that consisted of hour-long interviews, where patterns where analyzed for the purpose of providing an in-depth look at possible contributing factors to low TSE. The patterns that emerged as participants discussed their low TSE are examined.
The results from phase one do not support the hypothesis that there is a partially mediated relationship between teacher modeling of technology and TSE. The construct of learned technological helplessness, as it was proposed, was not upheld. However, data from phase two suggests that the construct of LTH may exist as proposed. Refinement of the methods and further research are necessary.
Harris, J.E. The impact of gender socialization on women's learned technological helplessness and its andragogical implications. Ph.D. thesis, University of Missouri - Saint Louis.
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