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Unformatted text preview: Cultural factors affecting the adoption of e-learning in Turkey Abstract This paper reports findings from an ethnographic study of e-learning adopters in Turkey and examines ways in which cultural factors shape the adoption and use of information technology for online teaching. This research focuses on influential early adopters in the tertiary education sector in Turkey who have become change-agents by inspiring small networks of their peers. The study examines the operation of trust and inspiration in networking and teamwork in the Asian academic environment. The key findings of this research are that the early adopters become change agents in small groups and networks and that the process of adoption relies heavily on social networks and connections. Findings from this research can assist individuals and institutions to better understand ways in which to optimize the online teaching and learning experience for staff. Keywords Cultural factors, e-learning, education, online learning and teaching, social network THE GROWING ADOPTION OF E-LEARNING BY UNIVERSITIES Background and motivation The advanced development of information and communication technologies (ICT) has given universities an opportunity to improve their education services by implementing online learning systems. Online learning systems offer the student flexibility by allowing them to study anytime and at any location. Online learning potentially increases the speed and efficiency of the interaction between teachers and the learners. The use of technology for teaching has changed the context of higher education from a small community, where there used to be a small number of people undertaking higher education, to a wider learning society involving more and more people undertaking higher education (Commonwealth Department of Education Science & Training, 2002). The change of this learning context requires the redesign of existing courses, teacher-student contact, and the inclusion of system support for learning and delivery of courses (Commonwealth Department of Education Science & Training, 2002). Online learning (or eLearning) can be defined as the delivery of teaching programs using information and communication technologies related to the Internet (Chadha & Kumail, 2002). These technologies vary but share similarities with their focus being on the University management’s perspective - that is, providing competitive advantages to the University, expanding student base and international market place, and cost efficiency in providing distance education. Universities often point out eLearning benefits to their learners (students) – flexible time, anywhere, self control of learning pace. However, the literature addressing the adoption of eLearning by another group of end users – the teachers is rather limited. This paper describes and reports findings from an ethnographic study into gaining a deep understanding of cultural factors which affect the adoption of eLearning by academics in Turkey. deep understanding of cultural factors which affect the adoption of eLearning by academics in Turkey....
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