The cross-cultural dimensions of globalized e-learning
Andrea L. Edmundson, Walden University, United States
Walden University . Awarded
This study explores the existence of cross-cultural dimensions in e-learning. Specifically, it examines whether such differences affect learning outcomes for different cultural groups and whether cultures have different perceptions of and preferences for e-learning. Participants were employees working in functionally equivalent roles in a multinational corporation, living in either the United States or India. All participants completed an online, Level 1, e-learning course designed in the United States. Randomly selected participants then completed an online questionnaire, reporting how they interacted with the e-learning course. Survey questions were based on the cross-cultural dimensions in a simplified version of the multiple culture model (MCM). The researcher analyzed the similarities and differences between the India-based and U.S.-based groups in the context of cross-cultural dimensions identified by industrial anthropologists, and then compared these posited categories to actual results.
This study found that learners from a Western and an Eastern culture were able to achieve equitable learning outcomes after taking the same Western-designed e-learning course, suggesting that the characteristics of the Level 1 e-learning course used in the study mediated or diminished the effects of culture on learning outcomes. Second, cross-cultural dimensions at the national level do affect learners' preferences and perceptions in educational contexts, some of which are reflected in the Simplified MCM. Third, both Eastern and Western participants were willing to try new or different approaches to learning that did not align with their cultural profiles.
In conclusion, the researcher suggests that the cultural adaptation process (CAP) model, based on critical and assistive cross-cultural dimensions, could be used as a framework for adapting e-learning courses to the needs of other cultures. The accelerated dissemination of Level 1 e-learning courses could increase access to education as well as increasing the rate of technological literacy in developing countries. Such dissemination may be critical to developing countries, as education and technological innovation have been shown to be strongly correlated with advanced socio-economic development.
Edmundson, A.L. The cross-cultural dimensions of globalized e-learning. Ph.D. thesis, Walden University.
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