OER1035 Oral Presentation

Dimensions of Culturally Sensitive Factors in the Design and Development of Learning Objects

Mei Qi, ,Tom Boyle, London Metropolitan University

Conference Theme: OER design

Abstract: Open educational resources (OERs) are designed to be globally reusable. Yet comparatively little attention has been given to cultural issues. This paper addresses the issue of culturally sensitive factors that may influence the design of reusable learning objects. These influences may occur in different aspects of the design and development, and are often subtle and hard to manage. The paper proposes a structured approach to explore and organize the culturally sensitive factors that are likely to be encountered in terms of four major dimensions. These dimensions serve to articulate and classify the large and diverse literature on cultural differences into a manageable format. This provides a basis to address cross-cultural issues during the process of the design and development of open educational resources (OERs). These dimensions, elicited from a detailed review of the literature, and initial cross cultural comparative study in the UK and China (Qi, Boyle & Xue, 2007) are:

  1. The Knowledge dimension relates to cultural issues that are associated with the content of learning of the learning objects, and the required prior knowledge of learners.
  2. The Pedagogical dimension explores the culturally sensitive factors related to the activities of teaching and learning. Laurillard’s (2002) conversational framework is used as the basis for examining the cultural influences on effectiveness of learning.
  3. The Access dimension focuses on cultural diversity in human computer interface design.
  4. The Technology dimension focuses on the cultural differences in the technical infrastructure and learners’ technological knowledge and skills. These differences influence the use of OERs and learners’ experience of OERs.

The talk will outline the four dimensions and illustrate how they can provide a framework to sensitize OER developers to culturally sensitive factors that influence the culturally accessibility and appropriateness of educational resources.

Keywords: Culture, Cultural influence, Cultural dimensions, Cross-cultural design, Learning object

Qi M., Boyle T. and Xue Y. (2007) Cultural influences on learning object design and development. Paper presented at ALTC 2007, Nottingham, September 2007.
Laurillard, D. (2002). Rethinking University Teaching: A conversational framework for the effective use of learning technologies 2nd ed., London: Routledge