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ERIC Number: EJ1073818
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2004
Pages: 3
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-1499-6677
Morse, K. (2003). Does One Size Fit All? Exploring Asynchronous Learning in a Multicultural Environment. "JALN", 7(1), 37-55
Zhang, Zuochen
Canadian Journal of Learning and Technology, v30 n1 Win 2004
As new technologies become less expensive, provide greater access to various forms of multimedia, and are integrated into all aspects of everyday life, online learning environments are becoming more prevalent. Online education, as experienced through course management systems, is being heralded as meeting the needs of students' lifestyles by managing time conflicts and access from remote locations, and helping people to juggle personal commitments (Harrison & Bergen, 2000). However, research indicates that improvements are needed to prevent high drop-out rates and to improve learning results (Byun, et al., 2000; Carr, 2000; Moshinskie, 2001). Online distance education courses need to be designed in such a way that learners with different backgrounds and preferred learning approaches will feel motivated and gain the best possible learning results from such courses. It is a challenge for instructional designers of online education courses to determine learners' preferred learning approaches and related social and cultural issues, and to design learning environments to meet these needs. Designers of such programs should consider cultural differences in their design as students of different cultural backgrounds may have different perspectives and interpretations of learning content (Driscoll, 2000; Gayeski, et al., 2002; Moshinskie, 2001). The case used for this study was a graduate seminar delivered fully online using asynchronous computer-mediated conferencing communication (CMC) for class participants to discuss topics and issues raised from the reading materials assigned by the instructor. Based on a review of literature on asynchronous CMC, the author lists the benefits of this medium as flexibility, participation quantity and quality, communication openness/access, and post-participation review/access for references. Morse also lists various challenges such as technology frustration, coordination, timing/delay frustration, and skills deficits. The author points out that even though culture is a primary factor in "determining individual behavior patterns, and provides the paradigm by which experience is interpreted, assimilated, and adapted"(p. 40), a systematic consideration of the role culture plays in CMC is missing in the literature. This paper discusses different definitions of culture, such as "shared patterns of behavior", "systems of shared meaning and understanding", "...those learned roles of behavior which bound accepted acceptable practice in a group environment", a result of fundamental societal assumption, and the concept of national culture, and argues that the indicator of cultural background should be ethnicity rather than nationality. The author goes on to introduce a continuum between low context and high context cultures, and uses a table to illustrate the difference between low context education perceptions/expectations and high context education perceptions/expectations.
Canadian Network for Innovation in Education. 260 Dalhousie Street Suite 204, Ottawa, ON K1N 7E4, Canada. Tel: 613-241-0018; Fax: 613-241-0019; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Australia; China; New Zealand; Pakistan; Singapore; Sri Lanka; Thailand; United Kingdom; United States
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A