Towards a Transcultural Approach in Online Learning

Towards a Transcultural Approach in Online Learning

Nazife Sen Ersoy (Dumlupinar University, Turkey)
Copyright: © 2018 |Pages: 24
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-3076-3.ch006
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Abstract

The term culture is used in many different contexts, such as corporate culture, sports culture, food culture, institutional culture, learning culture and so on. However, it is usually considered to be associated with national or ethnic identity of people. As there have recently been enormous shifts in the technological and social fronts, new cultural competences are needed so as to overcome the challenges and make use of the opportunities that came up as a result of these advancements. This chapter, thus, presents the changes the concept of culture has gone through in time and focuses on some cultural meta-models along with highlighting Seven Dimensions of Culture Model. Transculturalism is explained in detail based on the current literature and introduced as an alternative to former models of culture, interculturalism and multiculturalism, for better understanding of cultural diversity in online learning and embracing the intermixing and hybrid nature of it for more effective learning experiences.
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Introduction

People have been striving to gain knowledge, produce information and learn new things for centuries. In this process, the paths followed, the tools or media utilized and the methods applied along with learning preferences have also shown a continuous change. Although it was believed until the last century that the most effective learning takes place in formal settings under the control of a teacher in classroom environment, this perception has gradually been left to the view that learning is not only confined to the classroom environment, but that it is ubiquitous – anytime and anywhere- and it is a lifelong experience. With the advent of technology and especially with active use of computers and internet in people’s lives, there has been a transformation in the habits of individuals in sharing knowledge and reaching and producing information. Information is now being developed in an environment which is not precisely monopolized by anybody which enables information to be produced by mutual interaction and cooperation. This is made accessible to individuals through the network anytime they require and it might be utilized by different people elsewhere in the world.

Especially with the widespread use of the internet, web-based online courses have become quite popular and far-reaching. This has enabled many individuals with diverse characteristics from different geographies around the world to take the same course via the internet which has created a basis for multicultural courses and intercultural interaction. The international geographical borders, thus, have become indistinct by virtue of the virtual environment, and the world has grown into a ‘global village’ (McLuhan, 1964). In this respect, an individual from any country or nation can interact with a person from another country or a nation and exchange information. In the meantime, the interaction of different cultures of individuals is also made possible.

In order to provide flexible and diverse learning opportunities in the courses that are conducted in online environments, cultural variables should be taken into consideration and the learner needs, preferences and learning styles must be determined in advance. Considering these micro and macro levels during the instructional design of the culture is of great importance for the creation of appropriate learning environments (McLoughlin & Oliver, 2000). The term culture is used in many different contexts, such as corporate culture, sports culture, food culture, institutional culture, family culture, learning culture and so on. However, it is usually considered to be associated with national or ethnic identity of people. As there have recently been enormous shifts in the economic, technological and social fronts, new cultural competences are needed so as to overcome the challenges and make use of the opportunities that came up as a result of these advancements. This chapter, thus, presents the changes the concept of culture has gone through in time and focuses on some cultural meta-models along with highlighting Seven Dimensions of Culture Model (Trompenaars & Hampden-Turner, 1997). Transculturalism is explained in detail based on the current literature and introduced as an alternative to former models of culture, interculturalism and multiculturalism for better understanding of the cultural diversity in online learning and embracing the intermixing and hybrid nature of it for better learning experiences.

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