eLearning and Intercultural dimensions of learning theories and teaching models
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When choosing to address learning goals within an eLearning environment, authors and educators need to become aware of hidden dimensions in their pedagogical activity. Cultural embeddedness applies to learning theories as much as teaching models. Reflecting on these dimensions and taking them into account in designing learning environments should result in facilitated intercultural learning and teaching.
There is general agreement that intercultural competence, which has been especially developed in language training, is becoming more and more necessary for citizens today, as they encounter colleagues, clients or friends, at home or abroad, during work or leisure. This competence is based on a deep sensitive understanding of the other person and on communicative capacities. One would not expect eLearning to offer the required environment for developing such interpersonal capacities. However, it will be argued here that developing intercultural awareness in learners can be facilitated by elearning environments. Furthermore, as pedagogical practices, previously based mainly on paper technology, gradually integrate digital technology, a much more important goal can be attained with teachers: a renewed understanding of the cultural embeddedness of learning and teaching. This can lead to an urgently needed empowerment of educational actors who are confronted with specific new cultural challenges that the use of digital technology and knowledge is generating today.