Living in a global economy, it's about time we started paying more attention to global learning. This is a lot more than "localization." This is culture.

Source: Geoffrey Moore, Living ALong the Fault Line

My gut tells me culture, particularly taking advantage of cultural differences rather than trying to homogenize them into some bland "world culture," is going to be extremely important in the near future.

Didaxis has some interesting thinking on this, and I'll be working with them in Paris next month. Didaxis proposes deeply integrated human solutions aimed at transforming the professional environment in which work is effectively performed, knowledge is managed, culture developed and learning integrated. (Disclosure: I am a member of the board of directors of Didaxis.)

If you share our interest, check out Geert Hofstede's Homepage, particularly his summary of my ideas about national culture differences

That's context for an intriguing article that appears in The Technology Source dated (surprisingly) May - June 2003.

The Global e-Learning Framework:
An Interview with Badrul Khan

by James L. Morrison and Badrul H. Khan

Some issues can be understood in terms of how they represent a distinctive overlap between two different dimensions. For example, with respect to the interface design and ethical issues related to designing e-learning for a cross-cultural population, consider these questions:

    1. To improve cross-cultural verbal communication and avoid misunderstanding, does the course make an effort to reduce or avoid the use of jargon, idioms, ambiguous or cute humor, and acronyms? We should avoid using jokes or comments that might be misinterpreted by some. For example, in Bangladesh, we use the thumbs-up sign to challenge people, but to other cultures, that means you did well.

    2. To improve visual communication, is the course sensitive to the use of navigational icons or images? For example, a pointing hand icon to indicate direction would violate a cultural taboo in certain African cultures by representing a dismembered body part. Right arrow for the next page may mean previous page for Arabic and Hebrew language speakers, as they read from right to left.

    3. Does the course use terms or words that may not be used by worldwide audiences? For example, people use the term "sidewalk" in the US and "pavement/footpath" in the UK. When such a term is needed, we should include both forms for a diverse audience (e.g., Students should use the sidewalk [or pavement] rather than trample the grass.). 

    4. Is the course offered in a multilingual format? Since text found in buttons or icons is harder to change, it is better not to include text within graphics when the e-learning content may be translated into other languages.

    In Khan's global eLearning model, such considerations of these are at the nexus of Ethics and Interface:

    Table 1. Dimensions and Subdimensions of e-Learning Framework

    1. Institutional
            1.1 Administrative Affairs
                1.1.1  Needs Assessment
                1.1.2  Readiness Assessment (Financial, Infrastructure, Cultural, and Content Readiness)
                1.1.3  Organization and Change (Diffusion, Adoption, and Implementation of Innovation)
                1.1.4  Budgeting and Return on Investment
                1.1.5  Partnerships with Other Institutions
                1.1.6  Program and Course Information Catalog (Academic Calendar, Course Schedule, Tuition, Fees, and Graduation)
                1.1.7  Marketing and Recruitment
                1.1.8  Admissions
                1.1.9  Financial Aid
                1.1.10  Registration and Payment
                1.1.11  Information Technology Services
                1.1.12  Instructional Design and Media Services
                1.1.13  Graduation Transcripts and Grades      
            1.2  Academic Affairs
                1.2.1  Accreditation
                1.2.2  Policy
                1.2.3  Instructional Quality
                1.2.4  Faculty and Staff Support
                1.2.5  Class Size, Workload and Compensation, and Intellectual Property Rights
            1.3  Student Services
                1.3.1  Pre-Enrollment Services
                1.3.2  Orientation
                1.3.3  Advising
                1.3.4  Counseling
                1.3.5  Learning Skills Development
                1.3.6  Services for Students with Disabilities
                1.3.7  Library Support
                1.3.8  Bookstore
                1.3.9  Tutorial Services
                1.3.10  Mediation and Conflict Resolution
                1.3.11  Social Support Network
                1.3.12  Students Newsletter
                1.3.13  Internship and Employment Services
                1.3.14  Alumni Affairs
                1.3.15  Other Services
    2. Pedagogical 
            2.1  Content Analysis
            2.2  Audience Analysis
            2.3  Goal Analysis
            2.4  Medium Analysis
            2.5  Design Approach
            2.6  Organization
            2.7  Methods and Strategies
                2.7.1  Presentation
                2.7.2  Exhibits
                2.7.3  Demonstration
                2.7.4  Drill and Practice
                2.7.5  Tutorials
                2.7.6  Games
                2.7.7  Storytelling
                2.7.8  Simulations
                2.7.9  Role-Playing
                2.7.10  Discussion
                2.7.11  Interaction
                2.7.12  Modeling
                2.7.13  Facilitation
                2.7.14  Collaboration
                2.7.15  Debate
                2.7.16  Field Trips
                2.7.17  Apprenticeship
                2.7.18  Case Studies
                2.7.19  Generative Development
                2.7.20  Motivation
    3. Technological 
            3.1  Infrastructure Planning (Technology Plan, Standards, Metadata, Learning Objects)
            3.2  Hardware
            3.3  Software (LMS, LCMS)
    4. Interface Design  
            4.1  Page and Site Design
            4.2  Content Design
            4.3  Navigation
            4.4  Usability Testing
    5. Evaluation   
            5.1  Assessment of Learners
            5.2  Evaluation of Instruction and Learning Environment
    6. Management  
            6.1  Maintenance of Learning Environment
            6.2  Distribution of Information
    7. Resource Support
            7.1  Online Support
                7.1.1  Instructional/Counseling Support
                7.1.2  Technical Support
                7.1.3  Career Counseling Services
                7.1.4  Other Online Support Services
            7.2  Resources
                7.2.1  Online Resources
                7.2.2  Offline Resources
    8. Ethical
            8.1  Social and Political Influence
            8.2  Cultural Diversity
            8.3  Bias
            8.4  Geographical Diversity
            8.5  Learner Diversity
            8.6  Information Accessibility
            8.7  Etiquette
            8.8  Legal Issues
                8.8.1  Policy and Guidelines
                8.8.2  Privacy
                8.8.3  Plagiarism
                8.8.4  Copyright

    Posted by Jay Cross at February 25, 2003 09:21 AM | TrackBack

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