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One effect of the evolution of e-learning is the inclusion of a growing number of learners who participate in courses designed and delivered by American and European universities while remaining within different social cultures. However, American and European distance education is guided by certain theories, derived from American and European culture.
This paper sets out to raise some questions and invites a discussion about how teaching and the view of learning based on these theories might cause conflict with the values that underpin the cultures of students taking courses from other countries.
The potential of e-learning to become a global phenomenon will be frustrated as long as educators in more technologically developed countries fail to understand the needs and perspectives of the vast potential populations of students in other countries.
Further, the potential will be missed for students in technologically developed countries to benefit from learning the perspectives of people in other countries. The promise of a global e-learning system is dependent on better understanding of the differences in views of learning in the different cultural contexts.
The point of introducing this discussion is not to report easy solutions, since there are none. In fact our early investigations indicate an almost complete absence of data or discussion of the problem. The point therefore is to contribute to recognizing
a previously un-noticed problem and to suggest an opportunity for e-learning organizations to take an early lead in helping us to understand what this mix of e-teaching and learning and culture is all about. After exploring the problem, we
will report the results of two exploratory research studies that sought the views of learners on this issue.

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How to Cite
Grahame Moore, M., Shattuck, K., & Al-Harthi, A. (2012). Cultures meeting cultures in online distance education. Journal of E-Learning and Knowledge Society, 1(2).