Rogers, Graham, & Mayes (2007). Cultural competence and instructional design.

Rogers, P. C., Graham, C. R., & Mayes, C. T. (2007). Cultural competence and instructional design: Exploration research into the delivery of online instruction cross-culturally. Educational Technology Research and Development, 55(2), 197-217. doi:10.1007/s11423-007-9033-x

“… the issue of culture in the field of Instructional Design and Technology (IDT) is gaining ground and an increasing audience of interest. The instructional designers, assigned to design the educational content and experiences, are not immune from the influence of their own cultural blinders.” (p 198)

“… borrowed from the work done in the field of cross-cultural psychology, intercultural communications, and intercultural computer-mediated communications (CMC) with inferences drawn to the field of online education.” (p 198)

“The data collected from these cases indicated that becoming aware that there are significant differences between cultures does not mean that you are aware of what all of those differences are or of all the ways in which they influence learning.” (p 202)

“… (a) language structures can actually influence the way in which people think; (b) when the language of cross-cultural instruction was English, instructional designers tend to forget about the impact of other cultural issues and misunderstand the level of the English learners can handle; and (c) a misuse of other symbols, colors, and metaphors can unintentionally offend or alienate learners.” (p 204-205)

“Three barriers to being more culturally responsive emerged from the analysis of data: (a) an over emphasis on content development as the center of practice and under emphasis on context and learner experience, (b) a relative lack of evaluation in real-world practice, and (c) the creation of less than ideal roles that instructional designers assume in the larger organizational structures involved. Each of these barriers will be discussed briefly in turn.” (p 206-207)

“… many of the instructional design models and methods assume the role of the teacher, in trying to imagine what a teacher might do and create content that way.” (p 207)

“… lack of emphasis on evaluation [of the instructional design] …” (p 207)

“Three of the most commonly mentioned ways to find gaps are: (a) immersing oneself in the culture, (b) integrating learner feedback in up-front analysis, and (c) integrating learner feedback through formative evaluation.” (p 212)

“The major differences identified could be categorized into the following four areas: general cultural and social expectations, teaching and learning expectations, differences in the use of language and symbols, and technological infrastructure and familiarity.” (p 214)

Selected references

  • Chen, A., Mashhadi, A., Ang, D., & Harkrider, N. (1999) Cultural issues in the design of technology-enhanced learning systems. British Journal of Education Technology, 30(3), 217–230.
  • Gunawardena, C. N., Wilson, P. L., & Nolla, A. C. (2003). Culture and online education. In M. G. Moore & W. G. Anderson (Eds.), Handbook of distance education (pp. 753–775). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Earlbaum Associates.
  • Henderson, L. (1996). Instructional design of interactive multimedia: A cultural critique. Educational Technology Research and Development (ETR&D), 44(4), 85–104.
  • Hofstede, G. (1984). Culture’s consequences: International differences in work related values. Beverly Hills, CA: Sage Publications, 21.
  • McLoughlin, C. (1999). Culturally responsive technology use: Developing an on-line community of learners. British Journal of Education Technology, 30, 231–243.
  • Wild, M. (1999). Editorial. British Journal of Educational Technology, 30(3), 195–199.


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