This post summarizes educational psychology constructs that have been examined in the IDT literature with attention to cross-border or cross-cultural dynamics.
In looking at components of motivation in a group of international distance education students, Visser, Plomp, Amirault and Kuiper (2002) use the ARCS model (attention, relevance, confidence and satisfaction) to find that attempts to personally customize motivational messages for students was time-consuming and no more effective than collective messages.
Gunawardena et al. (1996) used Kolb’s Learning Style Inventory to characterize the learning styles of adult learners in Open University students in Sri Lanka. Kolb’s Learning Style Inventory identifies learning styles as accommodator, diverger, converger or assimilator on a Cartesian coordinate polarizing concrete experience and abstract conceptualization and active experimentation and reflective observation. Gunawardena et al. (1996) found the dominant learning style to be Assimilators and posit that “the dominant Assimilator style to a certain degree reflects the traditional ways in which students are taught in Sri Lanka, in a face-to-face lecture-style classroom where the acquisition of theory, facts, and abstract knowledge is of primary concern” (p.117). However, they do acknowledge that “one of the questions that remains to be answered in order to better understand learning styles is related to the appropriateness of the LSI for this cultural context” (p. 116).
As Tirri and Campbell (2010) point out in a discussion of the current state of cross-cultural research in education, “the flow of ideas on the psychological measurements is a one-way flood of American constructs” (p.20).
Young’s (2009) CBM approach to psychology of culture allows for inductive analysis of learners in a particular situation through qualitative inquiry and avoids the problematic implications of applying psychological constructs across cultures.
Gunawardena, C.N., Jayatilleke, G. & Lekamge, G.D. (1996). Learning style of the open university students of Sri Lanka. Educational Technology Research and Development, 44(1), 115-120.
Tirri, K. & Campbell, J.R. (2010). Current trends and dilemmas in cross-cultural research. In D.K. Sharpes (Ed.), Handbook on International Studies in Education. Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing, Inc.
Visser, L., Plomp, T., Amirault, R.J., & Kuiper, W. (2002). Motivating students at a distance: The case of an international audience. Educational Technology Research and Development, 50(2), 94-110.
Young, P.A. (2009). Instructional design frameworks and intercultural models. Hershey, PA: IGI Global/Information Science Publishing.