Open and Distance Education/Cultural influences in online learning

Introduction of Cultural Differences in Online Learning edit

One of the common ways to understand culture is that culture includes any capabilities and habits acquired by a human as a member of the society (UNESCO[1]). It means culture includes language, values, behaviours, and identities which can be different from societies. For teaching and learning, it is believed that learners in different cultures will prefer different ways for teaching and learning because of the affection of their culture. To learn about how culture influences on learning and teaching, particularly in online learning, Jung (2015[2]) mentioned the importance to recognize three layers of culture, including culture traditions which may help to distinguish cultural differences between nations, sub-cultural traits that refer to different cultural properties of people within the same society, and cultural universals that refer to values and features shared by all of humanity). Besides, culture is not often static, but dynamic and embedded in context (Nieto, 2010 as cited in Jung, 2015[2]), with the influence of globalization and involvement of technologies. All these aspects show that culture difference plays an important role in teaching and learning, especially in an online learning environment where learners are extremely diverse and blended.

With the perspective of the learner that is placed as a central departure point, this chapter is dedicated to analyzing the various influences of the cultural difference in the ways that teaching and learning are preferred by online learners in different cultures. The variations in online learning environment find differentiation according to the needed learning experiences of distance education students, then come up with recommendations to support online learners. Therefore, we organize this chapter as follows. First, it is important to investigate particular theoretical perspectives of cultural differences. Second, the examples of the application of these theoretical perspectives are included to show the comparison of preferred ways of learning between learners under different cultural categories. And finally, through those findings, particular recommendations will be proposed for online learner support as the conclusion of this chapter.

Table of Content edit

Theoretical Perspective of Cultural Differences

Regional Differentiation of Cultural Differences

Cultural Consideration for Online Learner Support

Chapter Summary

  1. UNESCO. Cultural Diversity. Retrieved on February 05, 2018
  2. a b Jung, I. (2015). Cultural influence on Online learning. In Jung, I., & Gunawardena, C. N. (Eds.). (2015). Culture and online learning: Global perspectives and research. Chapter 2. Stylus Publishing, LLC.