Redressing Socio-Cultural Insensitivity

Redressing Socio-Cultural Insensitivity

Karim A. Remtulla (University of Toronto, Canada)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61520-835-7.ch004
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Abstract

This chapter concerns many of the challenges facing socio-cultural researchers of workplace e-learning when attempting a social critique of workplace elearning. These obstacles include finding a common ground to begin a socio-culturally based research and study of workplace e-learning as well as using an approach that authentically balances ‘distance’ and ‘education’ so that distance education does not become a ‘distant education’. The overwhelming emphasis on the technological artefacts of workplace e-learning are not having the expected impacts on workplace adult education and training to the degree so profoundly anticipated by so many. The research and study of workplace e-learning as a socio-culturally negotiated ‘idea’ may be one such way. To do this, notions of social theory, taxonomy, and the researcher, as they relate to the field of adult education, and for a global workforce of adult learners, now become necessary. The complexity of approaching the diverse field of adult education with respect to social theory is explained, as are some of the challenges of applying the socio-cultural sensitivity taxonomy by using adult education as a backdrop for understanding workplace e-learning. ‘Socio-cultural Sensitivity Taxonomy for Workplace E-learning’ is presented and comprises four basic elements: (a) a context (social change) and an impetus (social responsibility) for a socio-culturally based research and study of workplace e-learning; (b) two outcomes (normalization and universalization) of technological artefactual approaches to workplace e-learning research and study; (c) two dominant cultural paradigms (commodified knowledges and innovative artefact) shaping workplace e-learning historicity in organizations; and, (d) four workplace e-learning scenarios (instrumental instruction, rational training, dehumanizing ideologies, and social integration), that all present socio-cultural impacts for the workforce from socio-culturally insensitive, technological artefactual approaches to workplace e-learning research and study. Figure 1 and Figure 2, originally from the Preface, are re-presented here, more formally.

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