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Title: Cultural influence in computer-supported collaborative learning
Keywords: computer-supported collaborative learning, cultural effects, diversity, leadership, participation equality
Issue Date: 25-Feb-2010
Citation: ZHONG YINGQIN (2010-02-25). Cultural influence in computer-supported collaborative learning. ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Abstract: In today?s information age, the capacity of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) has given rise to promising opportunities for incorporating Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning (CSCL) in all areas of education. Thanks to these technologies, collaborative learning is no longer bounded by time or geographical location. Institutions and organizations are increasingly turning to CSCL, in which cognitive principles are embedded in the computer-mediated environments to support a group of learners to accomplish some learning purposes together. The importance of attaining effective learning in CSCL has been well acknowledged. In particular, with the growing diversification of student populations and the use of virtual learning teams in cross-cultural collaborations, culture has been identified as a pertinent topic to leverage the potential of collaborative learning technologies to their full extent. Cultural has been found as an important factor in affecting the collaborative process, directly or indirectly, and the learning outcomes in CSCL. In line with cultural psychology and behavioral studies, cultural traits can be assessed at the individual level to investigate the acceptance and use of technology by end-users, mainly because behavioral models do not universally hold across cultures. In this connection, this thesis aims to explore how users? cultural values, as individual characteristics, play an imperative role in determining technology acceptance and usage. Culture influence is a challenging concept to look into, given its multi-facets of effects revealed and the divergent approaches of measurements. In this thesis, three studies were conducted to achieve a holistic understanding of the cultural influence on users? participation as well as the subsequent learning outcomes in virtual learning teams that are mediated by CSCL systems. The first study (Chapter 3) investigates the influence of individual?s cultural orientation in CSCL; the cultural dimension, Individualism-Collectivism (I-C), has been widely studied at the individual level to investigate the cultural impacts on participants? perceptions prior to the actual use of CSCL systems. The second study (Chapter 4) examines the impacts of cultural diversity in CSCL jointly with team pertinent factors of leadership and group size; it explored the role of cultural diversity ? the composition of members? (national) cultural backgrounds in a group ? on the participation process and outcomes in virtual learning teams. Further, the third study (Chapter 5) looks into the temporal dimension of cultural influence on members? participation and learning outcomes in different stages of team development. In this study, collectivist orientation is the espouse cultural variable of interest; it reflects the I-C dimension of an individual?s cultural orientation and refers to individual?s inclination to subordinate personal interests to the shared pursuits in a team context. The three studies involve well-designed field study and lab experiments; each of the studies is anchored on a different leading theoretical perspective of CSCL research. To enhance the theoretical as well as the practical contributions of the studies, the findings are further discussed to provide an integral understanding of the cultural influence particularly in the CSCL context (Chapter 6). Implications and directions for future work are also drawn from the in-depth discussion.
Appears in Collections:Ph.D Theses (Open)

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