Year

2011

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

University of Wollongong. School of Information Systems and Technology

Abstract

This thesis describes the development of designing a culturally specific e-learning website. The theories of: Geert Hofstede/Globe Study, Trompenaar, Edward T. Hall, and Kluckhohn and Strodtbeck were used to determine if cultural differences existed. Once established that cultural differences do exist, what needed to be determined as part of this research was to see if those theories could be applied to the e-learning field.

Various educational theories were explored that dealt with e-learning theories as used in the teaching arena. It was found that educators recognised the difference between face to face learning to web based learning. That difference not only involved using an e-learning website as opposed to face to face education, but the culture of the pupil and instructor as well.

Part of this work involved developing a culturally specific e-learning site and surveying students to determine their response to it. That work utilised the research done by St Amant and Singh and Pereira in determining website features that are particular to a specific culture. Once designed students from Australia, China and Saudi Arabia (Arab States) were then surveyed to their reaction towards this culturally specific e-learning website.

The results indicated that Hofstede/Globe cultural characteristics did not influence the user as much as if they held certain individual characteristics. People do have preferences for certain website characteristics but there is no obvious pattern based on a particular cultural group.

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