Towards a culture-oriented e-Learning System Development Framework in higher education institutions in South Africa
Chukwuere, Joshua Ebere
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Over four decades ago, software design and development was marked with crisis as a result of a number of reasons and the development has led to a chain of transformation mainly in the area of methodologies and approaches used during the development procedures. The crisis is still on-going not minding the huge efforts applied by researchers to preclude the issue. Nonetheless, the crisis affects the implementation of e-learning system in the area of integration of learner’s culture in the development process and designing culture-oriented e-Learning system. Culture-oriented e-Learning system has not been addressed nor given attention in the on-going development crisis. Although some researches claim to have reduced the effect of software crisis with the evolution of new approaches, frameworks, paradigms and methodologies. In an effort to understand culture in an organisation, Hofstede researched extensively in 1980’s on the impact upon national and organisational culture in an organisation and many other researchers followed suit to attain concord with his research findings. But the truth of the matter is that these researchers’ efforts and the findings failed to recognise or present individual cultures and cultural factors in the development of any e-Learning systems. Furthermore, South Africa is a country with eleven (11) official languages and different cultural practices spreading across nine (9) provinces. The choice of learning tools is influenced by these languages and cultures. South African societal values can be influential in e-Learning set-up and environment. Human learning capacity is influenced by many factors like culture. Organisations and educational institutions are trying hard in making teaching and learning widely available to learners at all times, but cultural influence can be regarded as crisis during the development and implementation process. In making e-Learning user-friendly, teachers (instructors) and researchers have researched implementable programmes on e-Learning. Some studies show that e-Learning has the potential of making communication between instructors (lecturers) and learners (students) more effective and efficient. In spite of all these, students do drop out from courses on e-Learning. Nonetheless a lesson can be derive from Chinese culture because a released report shows that Chinese culture is teaching and learning (teacher-oriented) friendly, Chinese students do not favour constructive learning environment compared to blended-teaching and learning environment. In the SA education context, students are coming from different backgrounds, societies, cultures and with different characteristics, specifications and learning styles. The fact that learners come from different cultural-backgrounds posed a challenge to capture culture and in the development of the e-Learning system. The inability to capture learners’ cultural differences has led to participants suggesting the user(s) involvement and consultation in the design process and inclusion of the following components: cultural, community, administrative, content, learning style, Activity/Exercise Factor (AEF) and others will led to culture-oriented e-Learning system design and implementation. The constructive research approach (CRA) was truly suitable for this study in developing a culture-oriented framework. A data was collected via mixed research approach by means of structured interviews and closed-ended questionnaires from North-West University (NWU); University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) and University of Cape Town (UCT). The interview aimed at e-Learning developers and administrators while the closed-ended questionnaires derived data from learners (students) that use e-Learning platform on daily basis. Lastly, findings were drawn based on data collected by which “Seven cycle culture-oriented e-Learning system framework” (SCCOe-LSF) was developed. The new framework will assist to accommodate learners’ culture differences in the development and implementation of culture-oriented e-Learning system. Also, this e-Learning framework will help in achieving a desired teaching and learning purpose and addressing the long standing software crisis and development needs. At the end, a conclusion was drawn and recommendations made on future improvement and studies.
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