Confronting Asian Concerns in Engaging Learners to Online Education

  •  Ganakumaran Subramaniam    


Researchers have theorized that cultural emphasis on education plays a major role in explaining Asian students’ achievement. While Asian parents often view education as the main vehicle for upward social mobility, the social and cultural make-up of Asian societies and the context within which education is conducted in Asia often clash with the modern approaches and methodologies adopted into Asian classrooms. Contemporary approaches to education especially in relation to autonomous, learner-centred and online philosophies though theoretically supported and statistically proven successful in the west have been slow to capture Asian learners’ interest and engagement. This paper discusses some of the reasons for the problems and challenges that need to be confronted prior to the introduction and effective implementation of autonomous online learning programmes. It further describes an attempt at confronting the above issues through a research project conducted by group of academics from the National University of Malaysia. The paper concludes by featuring some of the principles and strategies employed in the online programme developed for the research and the implication of their use on learner engagement to online autonomous learning programmes.

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