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Socio-cultural inclusiveness and workplace e-learning: From dominant discourse to democratized discourses

, University of Toronto , Canada

University of Toronto . Awarded


Technological enhancements and economic gains are the dominant focus of normalized research of workplace e-learning programs. This is not, however, equivalent to discovering whether or not workers are actually experiencing any socially and culturally meaningful learning from workplace e-learning programs.

This thesis advocates socio-cultural inclusiveness research on workplace e-learning programs. Socio-cultural inclusiveness research takes into account the learning needs of workers with respect to their various social differences and culturally unique identities that affect, mediate, and interpret workers' learning.

The intent is to transform perceptions of workplace e-learning programs, from technological artefact to ideational discourses. Discourse Analysis is applied as a sociocultural approach to ten passages that have been extracted from ten examples of normalized research published over the past decade. This is done to explore whether a normalizing paradigm is noticeable and how such a normalizing paradigm might lead workplace e-learning programs to socially marginalize and culturally exclude workers.

To discursively analyze the passages and identify a normalizing paradigm, this thesis applies ‘Discourse model’ as ‘tool of inquiry’. Discourse models reveal heuristic, taken-for-granted assumptions about what is socially normal and culturally representative in talk and text. The normalizing paradigm that does emerge from this cursory analysis, constructs normalized e-learning as the conflation three assumptions: technological proficiency; economic efficiency; and, training consistency. This normalizing paradigm socially justifies workers in the workplace through normalized e-learning.

To promote democratized counter discourses, this thesis puts forward critical perspectives, taxonomies, and frameworks that enable praxis of socio-cultural inclusiveness research. This thesis relies on three critical perspectives to discursively resist three formal biases inherent in normalized e-learning that emerge from this normalizing paradigm. Using a critical pedagogy perspective, this thesis reflects on the formal bias of ‘standardization’ and its alignment with ‘training consistency’ to discuss ‘worker-worker’ alienation from ‘pedagogical standardization’. Taking a critical culture perspective, thesis hones in on the formal bias of ‘categorization’ and its alignment with ‘economic efficiency’ to elaborate ‘worker-work’ alienation from ‘cultural categorization’. With a critical history perspective, this thesis focuses on the formal bias of ‘operationalization’ and its alignment with ‘technological proficiency’ to expand on ‘worker-identity’ alienation from ‘ahistorical operationalization’.


Remtulla, K.A. Socio-cultural inclusiveness and workplace e-learning: From dominant discourse to democratized discourses. Ph.D. thesis, University of Toronto. Retrieved January 23, 2020 from .

This record was imported from ProQuest on October 23, 2013. [Original Record]

Citation reproduced with permission of ProQuest LLC.

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