Episode 64

"Cultural Differences in Online Learning"

Duration 00:14:17      Recorded on July 16, 2009

In this episode, Susan and Dan talk about international issues related to learning, including understanding the cultural background of your students and what difference that makes to how you interact with them.

Show Notes:

In this episode, Dan and Susan recap what they shared in an impromptu session for the International Online Conference in March 2009. The topic is international issues related to learning. When they did the original presentation, they had participants from all over the world. If listeners don't know, Dan has lived all over the world!

One of the primary themes was understanding the cultural background of your students and what difference that makes to how you interact. Culture also comes into play when you consider teaching styles. For example, some cultures may be more didactic and others constructivist. As Dan shares, if you have students from other cultures (than your own) it is probably worthwhile to consider culture as an environmental factor that influences learning. You may need to talk with students about what you're expecting and how this relates to learning.

How do you make a generalization and understand your students without stereotyping? Dan advises to "hold the different behavior loosely without judging" and gives an example.

Susan sent Dan this link recently in which they explore the differences and similarities between corporate online work in the U.K. and the U.S. This led to a brief discussion of how our understanding of what computer based training differs.

Even course management system decisions are influenced by culture!

Be careful what vocabulary you use when describing what's happening in an online learning situation. Susan says Dan has learned a new language (corporate) and jokes that he doesn't sound so Canadian any more. Susan has more students from all over the world enrolling in her courses. The diversity is great! Dan shares a story about his family and cultural immersion. "Living with tension" stretches us, and helps us stretch our students.

About Us

The LT Green Room is a podcast for Renewal, Retooling and Conversations about Learning. It is co-hosted by Susan Manning and Dan Balzer and its show topics are often drawn from members of LearningTimes.org, a free online community of education and training professionals from across the globe. The LT Green Room gives listeners (and ourselves) an opportunity to reflect on what they're doing behind the scene that results in an effective learning experience.


Co-Host & Producer
Susan Manning
Co-Host & Producer
Dan Balzer
Executive Producer
Carl Heine
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