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Culture‐aware collaborative learning

Anastasios A. Economides (University of Macedonia, Thessaloniki, Greece)

Multicultural Education & Technology Journal

ISSN: 1750-497X

Article publication date: 10 October 2008

Abstract

Purpose

In a collaborative learning environment there will be many learners with diverse cultures. These learners should be supported to communicate and collaborate among themselves. The variety of the communication and collaboration tools and modes available to each learner would depend on his/her personal cultural background. The purpose of this paper is to suggest the adaptation of the collaborative learning environment to the learner's cultural profile. So, first it aims to present learner's models with respect to his/her cultural characteristics. It also aims to present the various communication and collaboration tools and modes that would be available to the learners. Then, each learner has at his/her disposal the appropriate communication and collaboration tools and modes according to his/her cultural characteristics.

Design/methodology/approach

The cultural models of Trompenaars and Hampden‐Turner, as well Hofsted are modified relaxing the dualism of their dimensions. The modified models are used in a collaborative learning environment. The various attributes and types of communication and collaboration among learners and teachers in a collaborative learning environment are also identified.

Findings

This paper presents learner's cultural models across several cultural dimensions. Each cultural dimension weights differently. Also, a learner may not belong strictly to a cultural extreme of a dimension, but he/she may have characteristics from both cultural extremes of each dimension. Based on a learner's cultural profile, different communication and collaboration tools would be available to the learner.

Research limitations/implications

Based on the learner's profile, either the adaptation engine, or the teacher, or the learner him/herself may select the appropriate communication and collaboration tools and modes for the particular learner. Designers, developers and evaluators of collaborative learning systems may benefit from these learners' cultural models and the communication and collaboration attributes. For example, they may create collaborative learning systems with flexible communication and collaboration attributes that provide to each learner personalized communication and collaboration tools according to his cultural profile.

Practical implications

This paper proposes the adaptation of the collaborative learning environment to the cultural characteristics of the learner. Future research may assign the specific communication and collaboration tools to each particular learner's cultural profile.

Originality/value

This paper proposes the adaptation of the communication and collaboration tools and modes that are used by a learner in a collaborative learning environment to the learner's cultural characteristics. First, the paper presents new cultural models of a learner. Then, it presents the communication and collaboration attributes and types that would be used by the learners in a collaborative learning environment. A learner would have at disposal the appropriate personalized communication and collaboration tools.

Keywords

Citation

Economides, A.A. (2008), "Culture‐aware collaborative learning", Multicultural Education & Technology Journal, Vol. 2 No. 4, pp. 243-267. https://doi.org/10.1108/17504970810911052

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited