Date of Award


Degree Name

EdD Doctor of Education

Dissertation Committee

Bernard J. Dodge, PhD; Farhad Saba, PhD; Susan M. Zgliczynski, PhD


asynchronous activities, culture, education, exploratory blended study, group work, individual components, individualist/collectivist, motivation, listserv usage, online learning environments, synchronous activities


In the past, instructional design of online learning has largely ignored culture in the creation of online learning environments. Because research in the interaction of culture and online learning is very sparse, an exploratory, blended study was conducted to assess whether there is evidence that one measurable aspect of learners’ culture interacts with the online learning environment in ways that can be observed and identified, and whether this interaction impacts learners’ motivation and behavior in those environments. “Culture” is a complex concept consisting of many interrelated behaviors and values. For this reason, the study focused on one single aspect of culture— Hofstede’s individualist/collectivist (IC) orientation—and investigated its relationship to learner behavior and motivation in online learning environments. This study found patterns of significant correlations between motivation and IC variables within the online learning environments, as well as between certain types of online interactions (particularly listserv usage) and IC variables. Patterns of correlations between IC scores and synchronous activities, asynchronous activities, individual components, and group work were clearly observable. Of these, the synchronous component seems to have the weakest associations, possibly due to a relatively small sample size. There is clearly an association between respondents’ emotional reactions to synchronous work and their IC scores; however, these coefficients are uniformly negative. This indicates that, as a learner collectivist score increases, the emotional reaction that the learner experiences as a result of synchronous components decreases. The results of this study indicate that further research in this area is warranted. Instructional designers and implementers should be aware of potential interactions between online learning environments and the cultural characteristics of the learners who utilize them. Understanding how a learner’s culture may interact with specific online learning components makes possible the exploration and creation of alternative means of supporting learners in the construction of knowledge.

Document Type

Dissertation: Open Access