Selinger (2004). Cultural and pedagogical implications of a global e-learning programme.

Selinger, M. (2004). Cultural and pedagogical implications of a global e-learning programme. Cambridge Journal of Education, 34(2), 223-239. doi:10.1080/03057640410001700589

“… this study reveals how important local tutors are in helping students adapt to the style of the material and to make a course developed in another country both culturally and pedagogically relevant.” (p 223)

“… whether a global curriculum can serve the needs of students in all countries; what adaptations need to be made; how Internet access affects the pedagogical process; and to identify the challenges facing locally based tutors.” (p 224)

“Robin Mason (1999) considers the meaning of global education, as opposed to distance learning, and suggests it comprises of five elements of which very few programmes contain more than two or three of these elements:

  • Students in more than two continents of the world able to communicate with each other and with the teacher.
  • An express aim on the part of the teacher or institution to attract international participation.
  • Course content devised specifically for transnational participation.
  • Support structures both institutional and technological to tutor and administer to a global student body.
  • Operations on a scale of more than one programme and more than one curriculum area, with more than 100 students.”

(p 224-225)

“Woodrow (2001) also suggests that cultural traditions and beliefs relate not just to social behaviours and interests but affect assumptions about ways of learning, and even the meaning of ‘learning’ may be different within different social constructs.” (p 225)

[Dimensions given in Table 2, “Overview of Trompenaars’ value orientations and Hofstede’s uncertainty avoidance dimension,” as adapted by Dunn and Marinetti (2002) from Trompenaars’ (1997) Value orientations and Hofstede’s (1997) Cultural dimensions. …]

“Universalism vs Particularism … Individualism vs Communitarianism … Neutral vs Affective … Specific vs Diffuse … Achievement vs Ascription … High Uncertainty Avoidance vs Low Uncertainty Avoidance …” (p 227)

“… uncertainty avoidance (UA) … Mature students would tend to be given more complexity and autonomy in selecting their routes through the material …” (p 235)

Selected references

  • Dunn, P. & Marinetti, A. (2002) Cultural adaptation: necessity for global e-learning. Available online at:
  • Marcus, A. & Gould, E. W. (2000) Cultural dimensions and global web user-interface design: What? So What? Now what? Proceedings of the 6th Conference on Human Factors and the Web, Austin, Texas, 19 June. Available online at:
  • Mason, R. (1999) Global education: fact or fad? Keynote address at The Digital millennium: collaboration, integration, education. National University Telecommunication Network Conference, Washington, 27 June 27. Available online at:
  • Trompenaars, A. & Hampden-Turner, C. (1997) Riding the waves of culture: understanding diversity in global business (2nd edn) (New York, McGraw Hill).
  • Woodrow, D. (2001) Cultural determination of curricula, theories and practices. Pedagogy, Culture and Society, 9(1), 5-27.
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