Academic journal article International Journal of Education and Development using Information and Communication Technology

Exploring Interactions of Cultural Capital with Learner and Instructor Expectations: A Case Study

Academic journal article International Journal of Education and Development using Information and Communication Technology

Exploring Interactions of Cultural Capital with Learner and Instructor Expectations: A Case Study

Article excerpt

INTRODUCTION

Policy advisors have made a global call for nations to prioritize their knowledge-economy-building initiatives, and this call is being answered by a surge of non-profit and market-driven strategies to produce innovative educational technologies (Britz, Lore, Coetzee & Bestere, 2005; Dahlman & Utz, 2005; Daniel, 1996; Morey, 2004; van der Wende, 2002). For organizations to innovate in the educational technology space, they have been forming partnerships across sectors and across borders in order to train personnel for high level innovation. Such cross-sector, cross-border training for innovation environments continue to increase in number and provide rich ground for examining dynamics of culture in the process of instructional design and technology (IDT) in a globalized knowledge economy.

The roots of instructional design cling to the soil of the military-industrial complex and its call for more effective, efficient and productive processes for uniform training (Reiser & Dempsey, 2007). Though still of legitimate concern in today's learning environments that reflect the transitional growth from industrial to knowledge-based economies, calls for effectiveness, efficiency and productivity are accompanied by calls for equity, sustainability and innovation (Vrasidas, Zembylas & Glass, 2009). For example, development was once seen from the Western point of view as a measure of economic growth through attention to gross domestic product indices; whereas, newer, more globally inclusive views show attention to development as a process of improving individual human rights and attention to environmental sustainability (Sen, 2006 qtd. in Vrasidas, Zembylas & Glass, 2009). Petrina (2004) argues that the models proposed by instructional designers are lacking because "universal formulas" could only work in apolitical environments which arguably, do not exist. Visser and Suzuki (2007) observe that "the professional literature of the instructional design field draws heavily on the experience of its application and development in one country, the United States of America" (p.235). These critiques of applying Western-based models gain more significance as the practice of IDT continues to occur in increasingly global contexts.

This study seeks to problematize traditionally reductionist approaches of IDT, in particular because of the cross-cultural implications of imposing only one world view as the truth by exploring how bidirectional flows of cultural capital interact with learner expectations and instructor preconceptions in the case of a cross-sector, cross-border training program.

Case

In 2007, NextGenEd (pseudonym), a private education software company headquartered in India, contracted with the Institute for Advanced Learning (pseudonym) (IAL), a consortium of three US state universities, a community college and one of NASA's Space Centers, to train up to fifty employees to build applications that produce 3D graphical representations for CAVE (Cave Automated Virtual Environments). NextGenEd initiated this training program as a research and development project to potentially produce software and build immersive three-dimensional virtual (i3Dv) environments for thousands of higher education, primary and secondary institutions in India, the US and Europe. The IAL team, subject-matter experts in i3Dv programming with minimal experience as educators, prepared and offered an on-site training program at their location on the campus of a NASA space center. From January 2008 to December 2008, NextGenEd sent twenty-four employees to participate in this training program as students. This case study examines this training program from the initial planning stages beginning in late 2007 until post-training stages of research and development still in progress in late 2010.

THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK

The theoretical framework for this study draws from Young's (2008) Culture-Based Model (CBM) for instructional design. …

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