Why "Cultural Sensitivities" and "Localizations" in Global E-Learning?

Why "Cultural Sensitivities" and "Localizations" in Global E-Learning?

Shalin Hai-Jew (Kansas State University, USA)
Copyright: © 2009 |Pages: 43
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59904-867-3.ch011
OnDemand PDF Download:


This chapter examines the importance of cultural sensitivity and localization in the delivery of global e-learning. The branding, course ecology, curriculum design, instructional strategies/pedagogical approaches, multimedia builds, information handling, and direct instruction in e-learning need to fit the needs of the diverse learners. Those that offer global e-learning must consider the national, ethnic and racial backgrounds of their learners to offer customized value-added higher education. Cultural sensitivities apply to initial learner outreach and their success in the e-learning; localizations enhance the applied learning and also the transferability of the learning after the global learners graduate. Cultural sensitivities and localizations may make global e-learning more field-independent and effective because of the reliance on each learner’s local resources. A “Cultural Sensitivities and Localizations Course Analysis (CSLCA)” Tool for global e-learning has been included in the appendix.
Chapter Preview


Many engaged in higher education have been reaching across international borders to court some of the brightest minds from around the world. They are using global e-learning to reach out to the “place-bound” (those restricted to certain geographical locations) or “place free” (those who live transient lives), due in part to the high costs of studying abroad and stricter vetting of individuals by various governments. The launching of global online educational and training endeavors should consider cultural targeting and sensitivity in order to make the learning more accessible to learners and to increase student retention. E-learning has traditionally had fairly high attrition rates, even as high as 50% in some programs (Moore & Kearsley, as cited by Picciano, 2002, p. 22). Effective instruction involves motivational components that “enhance self-efficacy and perceived challenge” (Hacker & Niederhauser, 2000, p. 53).

The nature of global learning lends itself to unique challenges. Studying abroad often means a transition period of preparation, travel, resettlement, and starting the studies. In this new version, “study abroad” means going online. For e-learning, with the use of numerous online forms and easy payment options, students may find themselves enrolled at a distant university from home. People are moving from living in so-called 
“little boxes” to networked societies (Wellman & Hampton, 1999, p. 648). There may not be a physical change to the global learner’s physical circumstances—no four-walls classrooms in a different milieu. Rather, in the “disembodied” learning of an online classroom, their bodies have not left home or the home country, but their minds have gone roaming. Mediated through the WWW and Internet, e-learning allows any number of such learners to enroll in instructor-led classes.

The disembodied aspects of e-learning also mean that instructors and facilitators will not have the benefit of informal knowledge inputs as when they make a cultural gaffe. They will not have the benefit of body language (and the classical training regarding proxemics, oculesics, kinesthetics, haptics, and others). Hailing from different time zones, they will not necessarily have the ability to resolve questions and concerns in real-time, in face-to-face venues, or to communicate their sincerity or decency as individuals. “Early work on CMC (computer-mediated communications), based on what was known as the filtered-cues position, described the medium as one bereft of social context cues (Sproull & Kiesler, 1986). These cues define the social nature of the situation and the status of those present and include aspects of the physical environment, body language, and paralinguistic characteristics. With such cues largely filtered out, CMC has been described as a lean medium that is relatively anonymous” (Chester & Gwynne, 1998, n.p.).

So, too, on the faculty side, there are no telltale face-to-face meetings with a group of new students or the real-time signaling and communications that go on in such lecture halls and hallway conversations. Rather, there are names and possibly a learner profile with a headshot attached. The unfolding of different learner personalities may occur over the course of the learning term, or they may never quite unfold, with the focus merely on the work and less on the individuality or personhood of the learners. The depth of personal revelations depends on the instructor facilitation, the “affordances” of the online learning space, the number of learners, the richness of the intercommunications and interactions, and possibly the particular field of study.

Cultural sensitivities involve efforts to recontextualize the online learning spaces and to surface and address cultural differences and similarities. Localization aims to add richness to the learning by considering the various “locales” of the global e-learning students and capitalizing on those resources. These endeavors to recontextualize the learning to student-local spaces may enhance the field independence of the learning, which will make the global e-learning more portable and transferable.

The objectives of this chapter are to engage the following research questions.

Complete Chapter List

Search this Book:
Editorial Advisory Board
Table of Contents
Alan Tait
Ugur Demiray, Ramesh C. Sharma
Ugur Demiray, Ramesh C. Sharma
Chapter 1
Ugur Demiray, Ramesh C. Sharma
Education is intimately connected with ethics, because holistically speaking education is more than simply passing examinations and acquiring... Sample PDF
Ethical Practices and Implications in Distance Education: An Introduction
Chapter 2
Michael F. Beaudoin
Launching and sustaining innovative new academic programs is typically a complex enterprise, especially distance education projects, and more... Sample PDF
Ethical Conundrums in Distance Education Partnerships
Chapter 3
Paul Kawachi
This chapter presents the desirable interactions involved in teaching and learning at a distance. In these interactions, there are considerable... Sample PDF
Ethics in Interactions in Distance Education
Chapter 4
J. S. Dorothy, Ugur Demiray, Ramesh C. Sharma, Ashwini Kumar
In an era when the distance teaching institution, irrespective of their type, namely single mode, dual mode, mixed mode and consortium, is involved... Sample PDF
Ethics in the Ambit of Distance Education
Chapter 5
Dele Braimoh, Jonathan Ohiorenuan Osiki
The current process of democratizing education has inevitably led to the explosive demands by the citizens of the different countries for... Sample PDF
Creating a Firewall Against Unethical Behaviours in Open and Distance Education Practice
Chapter 6
Glenn Russell
Some of the more important ethical concerns associated with open and distance learning are not those that may be faced by learners. Instead, the... Sample PDF
Ethical Concerns with Open and Distance Learning
Chapter 7
Deb Gearhart
Are our students prepared to use technology ethically? This is a question of concern to this author and addressed in this chapter. Experience as the... Sample PDF
Preparing Students for Ethical Use of Technology: A Case Study for Distance Education
Chapter 8
Rocci Luppicini
There is growing recognition of the important role of conversation ethics in open and distance learning systems, particularly within online learning... Sample PDF
Conversation Ethics for Online Learning Communities
Chapter 9
Terry D. Anderson, Heather P. Kanuka
The emergent world of network-based education creates challenges for researchers who wish to further our understanding of the opportunities and... Sample PDF
Ethical Conflicts in Research on Networked Education Contexts
Chapter 10
Michael Sankey, Rod St. Hill
The changing nature of distance education in the higher education context is investigated in this chapter, particularly in relation to... Sample PDF
The Ethics of Designing for Multimodality: Empowering Nontraditional Learners
Chapter 11
Shalin Hai-Jew
This chapter examines the importance of cultural sensitivity and localization in the delivery of global e-learning. The branding, course ecology... Sample PDF
Why "Cultural Sensitivities" and "Localizations" in Global E-Learning?
Chapter 12
Ormond Simpson
The increasing multiculturalism in its society has recently encouraged the study of ethical dimensions in higher education in the UK. Distance and... Sample PDF
Open to People, Open with People: Ethical Issues in Open Learning
Chapter 13
Chi Lo Lim
Open and distance learning systems (ODLS) brought about immeasurable advancement in the delivery of education. Albeit all the benefits ODLS offers... Sample PDF
An American Perspective of Ethical Misconduct in ODLS: Who's to Blame?
Chapter 14
Patrick J. Fahy
Ethics review of research involving humans is intended to protect human dignity by balancing harms and benefits. The foci and methods used in... Sample PDF
Ethics Review Concerns of Canada's Distance Researchers
Chapter 15
Judy Nagy
This chapter discusses the globalisation of education and the challenges and opportunities arising from technologies that can impact cheating... Sample PDF
Market Forces in Higher Education: Cheating and the Student-Centred Learning Paradigm
Chapter 16
Leslie Farmer
Case studies provide an authentic way to teach ethical behavior through critical analysis and decisionmaking because it reveals nuanced factors in... Sample PDF
Using Real Case Studies to Teach Ethics Collaboratively to Library Media Teachers
Chapter 17
Tina J. Parscal, Peter Bemski
This qualitative case study was designed to determine the extent to which a framework for exploring ethical principles for online facilitation is... Sample PDF
Preparing Faculty to Integrate Ethics into Online Facilitation
Chapter 18
Yavuz Akbulut, H. Ferhan Odabasi, Abdullah Kuzu
This chapter focuses on academic work on computer ethics conducted at a computer education department in Turkey. The chapter starts with the... Sample PDF
Computer Ethics: Scenes from a Computer Education Department in Turkey
Chapter 19
Donna Harper, Petra Luck
The aim of this chapter is to investigate ethical issues such as individual integrity and rights affecting online students who are Early Years... Sample PDF
Ethical Practice and Online Learning—A Contradiction? A Case Study
Chapter 20
Carmel McNaught, David M. Kennedy
This chapter is an essay about a new ethical problem that has become apparent to us in recent years. Bilingual plagiarism is the act of passing off... Sample PDF
Bilingual Plagiarism in the Academic World
Chapter 21
Ugur Demiray, Ramesh C. Sharma
The changing dimensions of distance education methodologies, new roles of distance teachers, and learners and use of modern communication... Sample PDF
Ethical Practices and Implications in Distance Education: Lessons Learned
About the Contributors