Cultural considerations for global e-learning: the relevance for modernising Europe and the inclusion of the new regions

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Michelle Selinger
EDEN Annual Conference, 2004, Budapest

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Cultural considerations for global e-learning: the relevance for modernising Europe and the inclusion of the new regions

  1. 1. Cultural considerations for global e-learning The relevance for modernising Europe and the inclusion of the new regions Dr Michelle Selinger Education Program Manager Cisco Systems, EMEA
  2. 2. EU statement on Higher Education <ul><li>The Community shall contribute to the development of quality education by encouraging cooperation between Member States, through a wide range of actions, such as promoting the mobility of citizens, designing joint study programmes, establishing networks, exchanging information or teaching languages of the European Union … Therefore, the Community has a complementary role to play: to add a European dimension to education, to help to develop quality education and to encourage life-long learning. </li></ul>
  3. 3. ERASMUS <ul><li>Emphasis on teaching staff exchanges, transnational curriculum development and pan-European thematic networks </li></ul>
  4. 4. MINERVA <ul><li>To promote European co-operation in ICT and ODL in education </li></ul><ul><li>3 main objectives </li></ul><ul><li>To promote understanding among teachers, learners, decision-makers and the public at large of the implications of the use of ICT in education, as well as the critical and responsible use of ICT for educational purposes; </li></ul><ul><li>To ensure that pedagogical considerations are given proper weight in the development of ICT and multimedia-based educational products and services; </li></ul><ul><li>To promote access to improved methods and educational resources as well as to results and best practices in this field </li></ul>
  5. 5. Considerations <ul><li>Location </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Place </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Time </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Technology </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Development of content </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Audience and uses </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Language </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Social and cultural factors </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Technology dissonance </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Teaching and learning through e-learning </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Challenges </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Cultural adaptation of content </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Communication and collaboration </li></ul></ul>
  6. 6. Questions What do we mean by culture in a teaching and learning context? What is global learning ? Why does culture matter?
  7. 7. Global learning through e-learning <ul><li>‘ Learning resources developed in one country and taught in another’ </li></ul><ul><li>Modes </li></ul><ul><li>International universities </li></ul><ul><li>Course sharing </li></ul><ul><li>E-learning </li></ul><ul><li>Blended learning </li></ul>
  8. 8. Examples of global learning programmes <ul><li>Blended learning </li></ul><ul><li>Local tutors </li></ul><ul><li>E-learning for students </li></ul><ul><li>Instructor community </li></ul><ul><li>Hands-on labs </li></ul><ul><li>Simulations </li></ul>Cisco Networking Academy Program
  9. 9. Example of global learning programmes <ul><li>Jordanian e-Maths Curriculum </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Focus on teachers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Blended learning </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Partially authored in country </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Two languages </li></ul></ul>
  10. 10. Example of global learning programmes <ul><li>WHO Health Academy </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Elearning </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Aimed at 12-18 students </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Currently in 2 languages </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Plans to deploy more widely </li></ul></ul>
  11. 11. More questions <ul><li>Can a global curriculum serve the needs of students in all countries? </li></ul><ul><li>What adaptations need to be made and why? </li></ul><ul><li>How does the level of Internet access affect the pedagogical process? </li></ul><ul><li>What are the challenges facing locally based tutors? </li></ul>
  12. 12. Research on cultural issues and implications for learning <ul><li>Assumptions about learning and meaning of learning vary across cultures </li></ul><ul><li>Cultural contexts have an impact on thinking and learning </li></ul><ul><li>Much of the global research focuses on e-learning which has little face to face contact and in which tutors are remote </li></ul><ul><li>Examples in materials are often drawn from another culture </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Idioms often do not transfer between cultures </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The style of writing may be alien </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Screen design and colour scheme could be inappropriate </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Relationships between teachers and learners vary across cultures </li></ul>
  13. 13. <ul><li>There is a tendency in ‘Western’ courses from the USA, Britain, Canada and Australia to encourage critical thinking skills, debate and discussion, where students’ views are considered important, and where the views of teachers can be legitimately challenged and where student dissent is even encouraged. </li></ul><ul><li>In other cultures, there is great respect shown by students for the teacher, and it is culturally alien to challenge the teacher or even express an opinion on a topic. </li></ul><ul><li>Bates, 1999 </li></ul>
  14. 14. Findings from CNAP research <ul><li>Cultural beliefs about teaching and learning have some impact on the way the Program is taught </li></ul><ul><li>Lack of experience and understanding of how traditional instruction interfaces with web based teaching materials </li></ul><ul><li>Assessment strategies and values vary </li></ul>
  15. 15. Issues identified <ul><li>Curriculum issues </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Relevance of method of curriculum delivery </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Language of instruction and use of translated versions of the Curriculum Integration into the school/college curriculum </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Students’ and instructors’ perceptions of the curriculum </li></ul></ul>
  16. 16. The difference between the US model of teaching and the Polish model <ul><li>From a student who had spent some time being educated in the US </li></ul><ul><li>He was set problems to solve and was never quite sure what he had to learn and failed tests until he worked out the system </li></ul><ul><li>In Poland you learn more by rote and know what you have to learn </li></ul><ul><li>From a discussion the students decided that perhaps the US model was better but the Polish model also had merits in some areas </li></ul>
  17. 17. Questions for consideration <ul><li>How closely matched are teaching methodologies in host and development country and to what extent can adaptations be built in? </li></ul><ul><li>Is cost and access to the Internet taken into account in each country involved? </li></ul><ul><li>How do these links impact the approach to and take-up of new technologies in the different countries so that e-learning can be facilitated? </li></ul><ul><li>Are online discussions and content relevant to all students and culturally sensitive </li></ul><ul><li>Is there a need for locally based instructors? </li></ul>
  18. 18. Implications for policy and practice <ul><li>Education can be globalised under certain conditions </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Recognition of the need for cultural adaptation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>E-learning on its own is not enough </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Local tutors are important in helping to make resources pedagogically and culturally relevant </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Support for local tutors is vital in helping them to use and adapt global e-learning resources with students </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The variations in ease and cost of access to the Internet will affect the way programmes are used and taught </li></ul></ul>
  19. 19. Benefits of working through local partners <ul><li>Cultural adaptation </li></ul><ul><li>Assistance with student recruitment, tutoring, and assessment </li></ul><ul><li>Local accreditation/qualifications </li></ul><ul><li>Contributions to content and program design to ensure local relevance </li></ul>
  20. 20. Developments in Hungary <ul><li>We have almost six billion articles available in this system with full text and there are many databases all available to Hungarian HE students. </li></ul><ul><li>They can access them in the universities and we plan to provide them with home access </li></ul><ul><li>Adam Horvath, IT Adviser to Minister of Education </li></ul>

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