Edmundson, A. (2007). The Cultural Adaptation Process (CAP) Model: Designing e-learning for another culture. In A. Edmundson (Ed.) Globalizing e-learning cultural challenges(pp. 2-17). Hershey, PA: Information Science

Edmundson (2007) offers a case study to test her proposed cultural adaptation process (CAP) model to evaluate e-learning courses and to include cultural profiles in learner analysis. She relies on an eclectic theoretical framework, pulling from instructional design and industrial anthropology. The “foundational framework” of course evaluation in Edmundson’s (2007) CAP model is based on Marinetti & Dunn’s (2002) guidelines for adapting courses for different cultures. Edmundson also modifies Henderson’s (1996) multiple cultural model for instructional design from fourteen dimensions represented in a continuum to nine and calls her modification the simplified multiple cultural model (SMCM): pedagagogical paradigm (instructivist/objectivist—constructivist/cognitive); experiential value (abstract—concrete); teacher role (didactic—facilitative); value of errors (errorless learning—learning from experience); motivation (extrinsic—intrinsic); accommodation of individual differences (non-existent—multifaceted); learner control (non-existent-unrestricted); user activity (mathemagenic—generative) and cooperative learning (unsupported—integral). To include learner analysis based on cultural characteristics in the CAP model framework, she pulls from three industrial anthropology models of oppositional cultural dimensions: Hofstede’s (1984, 1997) five cultural dimensions (power distance, individualism, masculinity, uncertainty avoidance and long-term orientation); Trompenaars and Hampden-Turner’s (1998) seven cultural dimensions (universalism v particularism, individualism v communitarianism, specific v diffuse cultures, affective v neutral cultures, achievement v ascription, sequential v synchronic cultures and internal v external control); and Hall’s (1981) concept of monochronic v polychronic cultures. She then applies this model in a cross-border context between the US and India and uses case study research design to evaluate a course developed by a US corporate training company for Indian learners. Edmundson’s data analysis is limited to description and evaluation of the process for course development and learner analysis, revealing that the current CAP model may not provide optimal guidance for the “flow of analytical activities.”

Edmundson’s study reflects one of the challenges in conducting research with a cultural focus in instructional design: finding a theoretical framework for analysis of results that does not rely on structured, oppositional continuums. The neatness of these continuums makes them highly attractive and easy to apply. For example, Hofstede’s cultural dimensions have been applied ad nauseam and rarely reveal more in the findings than the presence of these differences in a learning environment or the predictable implications of how they function (Paulus et al., 2005; Dunn & Marinetti, 2007). Another challenge reflected in Edmundson’s study is that culture focused research is still emergent in instructional design (Richey, 2009), so proposed models are often either untested or tested only by their creators and tend to be prescriptive rather than descriptive.