The intersection of community and culture: A model to develop culturally diverse online learning communities in U.S. distance education
Jaleh Mohsenin, Walden University, United States
Walden University . Awarded
Despite the globalization of distance education and the growing body of literature emphasizing the importance of online learning communities, not enough is known about the experiences of adult cross-cultural and multicultural learners enrolled in U.S. postsecondary distance learning courses. The purpose of this instrumental case study was to investigate how culturally diverse online learners function in an online learning community. The study explored the experiences, feelings of community, and levels of participation among cross-cultural learners enrolled in U.S. distance education courses. Wenger's communities of practice and Hofstede's cross-cultural dimensions provided the theoretical basis for the study. The sample consisted of 10 cross-cultural online learners and two instructors. Data were collected through questionnaires, a focus group, and phone interviews. The constant comparative method of inductive analysis was used to classify and describe emerging themes from the transcripts. Results showed that assumptions underlying the U.S. distance learning model made online course participation difficult and confusing for many participants. A lack of shared cultural beliefs among class members created barriers to full participation in an online course. This study will contribute to social change by providing a model for improved design, development, and implementation of culturally responsive online learning communities that will provide enhanced accessibility and equity in global higher education.
Mohsenin, J. The intersection of community and culture: A model to develop culturally diverse online learning communities in U.S. distance education. Ph.D. thesis, Walden University.
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