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ERIC Number: EJ886665
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Feb
Pages: 9
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 42
ISSN: ISSN-1544-0389
Cultural Differences in Learning and Implications for Distance Delivery of Educational Programmes to Developing Nations: A Case Study in Fiji
Shanahan, Morris W.
Journal of College Teaching & Learning, v5 n2 p15-23 Feb 2008
Shanahan (2006) found that to be effective the delivery of distance learning programmes to developing nations had to overcome certain constraints, such as cultural constrictions (i.e., issues of language), tradition-based limitations (i.e., paternalistic and hierarchical structures), an inherited past (colonialism), and poor infrastructure (particularly in relation to telecommunications). It was argued that all of these obstacles needed to be managed and sufficiently overcome if distance delivery was to be of any utility. This study builds upon this research to include possible differences in learning styles across cultures that may influence the functionality of web-based distance learning programmes. Fiji was chosen as a useful case study as this country has a population that is almost evenly split between two cultures: indigenous Fijians and people of Indian ancestry who were born in Fiji. These people were submitted to the same integrated educational systems, governmental processes, economic constraints, and social norms and laws. Participants in this study completed the Lincoln VARK Learning Styles Questionnaire and comparisons were made between learning styles and by ethnicity, age, computer access, and job position. Results indicated no significant difference in learning styles between cultures, but significant differences between learning styles across the total sample were evident. The results suggest learning differences need to be taken into account if maximum outcomes are to be achieved from web-based distance learning programmes. Such a finding has ramifications for educational institutions offering distance learning curriculums as the poor completion rates may partly be a function of not moderating such programmes to cater to the differences in learning styles. It is simply not a totalitarian process. (Contains 4 tables and 1 footnote.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Fiji