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Research on Cultural Factors in Global E-Learning

Research on Cultural Factors in Global E-Learning
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Author(s): Donald Stepich (Boise State University, USA), Seung Youn (Yonnie) Chyung (Boise State University, USA) and Allison Smith-Hobbs (Boise State University, USA)
Copyright: 2009
Pages: 8
Source title: Encyclopedia of Distance Learning, Second Edition
Source Author(s)/Editor(s): Patricia L. Rogers (Bemidji State University, USA), Gary A. Berg (California State University Channel Islands (Retired), USA), Judith V. Boettcher (Designing for Learning, USA), Caroline Howard (HC Consulting, USA), Lorraine Justice (Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong) and Karen D. Schenk (K. D. Schenk and Associates Consulting, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-198-8.ch259

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Abstract

Simply put, e-learning refers to Internet-based learning. E-learning can take place by reading a piece of information, such as a Web page, or completing a package of instruction, both of which are designed to impact learning and performance (Rosenberg, 2000). E-learning has rapidly gained momentum, especially in large international companies, due to the globalization of business. Businesses in the current global economy need to provide fast-changing information to large numbers of employees and customers at dispersed locations more efficiently than ever (Rosenberg, 2000). Although traditional classroom instruction is still the primary mode for delivering training (Sugrue, 2003), e-learning enables the delivery of content to global locations in a timely manner (Hartley, 2001). Although e-learning promises learning opportunities for anyone, anytime, and anywhere, reliably producing successful learning outcomes is a challenge. Unfortunately, e-learning programs often suffer high dropout rates (Wang, Foucar-Szocki, Griffin, O’Connor, & Sceiford, 2003). There are various reasons for this, but with e-learning, “the lack of cultural adaptation is a leading reason why e-learning fails to work” (Dunn & Marinetti, n.d.). This article addresses e-learning as a method for both education and training in a global economy, and it questions how e-learning can effectively reach a multicultural audience. It provides a theoretical overview of various cultural dimensions, and addresses the importance of considering multicultural factors and strategies in the design of e-learning.

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