Cultural diversity in the adoption of open education in the Mediterranean basin: collectivist values and power distance in the universities of the Middle East


  • Romina Cachia Universidad de Sevilla
  • Mohammed Aldaoud German Jordanian University
  • Ayman M. Eldeib Universidad de El Cairo
  • Omar Hiari German Jordanian University
  • Adiy Tweissi Princess Sumaya University for Technology
  • Daniel Villar-Onrubia Coventry University
  • Katherine Wimpenny
  • Isidro Maya Jariego Universidad de Sevilla

Palabras clave:

Open Education, Middle East, Individualism-Collectivism, Power Distance, Community Readiness.


In this paper, we examine how open education is adopted in the Middle East region in the context of a European-funded project for capacity building in Higher Education. Basing our study on Hofstede’s model, we examine how culture, in particularly collectivism and power distance influence the adoption of open education. In addition, we look at the relationship between internationalisation of tertiary education and open education. Based on in-depth interviews, focus group, and participatory action research with experts in the fields from Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon and Palestine, our findings suggest that beyond the technical aspect and the development of content, adoption of open education in the Middle East region is influenced by cultural aspects, which needs to be taken into consideration. As an emerging sub-culture, open education has the potential to transform and change some cultural barriers related to both power distance and collectivist cultures.


Los datos de descargas todavía no están disponibles.


Cargando métricas ...

Biografía del autor/a

Romina Cachia, Universidad de Sevilla

Romina Cachia. Investigadora de la Universidad de Sevilla, la Universidad de Malta y el JRC de la Comisión Europea. Ha publicado varios informes sobre la creatividad y la innovación en el sistema educativo. Realizó su investigación doctoral sobre las redes personales de los inmigrantes altamente cualificados y los tipos de movilidad geográfica.

Mohammed Aldaoud, German Jordanian University

Mohammad Aldaoud. Profesor de ingeniería eléctrica y tecnologías de la información de la German Jordanian University, Jordania. Ha publicado sobre programación informática, centrando su trabajo en el análisis de imágenes ultrasonido.

Ayman M. Eldeib, Universidad de El Cairo

Ayman M. Eldeib. Profesor de ingeniería biomédica de la Universidad de El Cairo, Egipto. Ha desarrollado sofware específico para el diagnóstico médico.

Omar Hiari, German Jordanian University

Omar Hiari. Profesor de ingeniería eléctrica y tecnologías de la información de la German Jordanian University, Jordania. Ha realizado trabajos de diseño de Hardware.

Adiy Tweissi, Princess Sumaya University for Technology

Adiy Tweissi. Director del Centro de eLearning de la Universidad Princesa Sumaya para la Tecnología, Jordania. Es experto en tecnología educativa y ha realizado trabajos sobre inteligencia artificial y eLearning.

Daniel Villar-Onrubia, Coventry University

Daniel Villar-Onrubia. Laboratorio de Medios Disruptivos de la Universidad de Coventry, Reino Unido. Realizó su doctorado en la Universidad de Oxford. Ha publicado trabajos sobre las competencias digitales, las prácticas educativas abiertas, el aprendizaje conectado y la intersección entre tecnologías educativas e internacionalización de la educación superior.

Katherine Wimpenny

Katherine Wimpenny. Laboratorio de Medios Disruptivos de la Universidad de Coventry, Reino Unido. En su investigación analiza cómo las instituciones de educación integran aspectos éticos y culturales en el diseño de experiencias educativas, así como el impacto de las mismas en estudiantes culturalmente diversos.

Isidro Maya Jariego, Universidad de Sevilla

Isidro Maya Jariego. Profesor Titular de Psicología Social e Investigador Principal del Laboratorio de Redes Personales y Comunidades de la Universidad de Sevilla, España. Es autor de “Estrategias de Intervención Psicosocial” y “Comunidades preparadas para la salud”. Fue investigador principal del proyecto Erasmus+ de la Unión Europea “OpenMed” en la Universidad de Sevilla. Ha participado en proyectos del plan estatal de I+D+i (España), de COLCIENCIAS (Colombia), FONDECYT (Chile) y CONACYT (México), entre otros.


Abdallah, M. M. (2017). Towards improving content and instruction of the ‘TESOL/TEFL for Special Needs’ course: an action research study. Educational Action Research, 25(3), 420-437.

Abeywardena, I. S. (Producer). (2012). The Re-use and Adaptation of Open Educational Resources (OER): An Exploration of Technologies Available. Retrieved from

Affouneh, S., Wimpenny, K., Ra'fat Ghodieh, A., Alsaud, L. A., & Obaid, A. A. (2018). Reflection on MOOC Design in Palestine. International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 19(2).

Al-Harthi, A. S. (2005). Distance Higher Education Experiences of Arab Gulf Students in the United States: A cultural perspective. The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 6(3).

Al-Qura'n, M., Haikal, A. A., Razeq, A. M., Shalabi, M., Fathi, N., Ghoush, A. S., & Majdalawi, T. (2001). The development and implementation of a sixth grade geology unit through collabrative action research. Educational Action Research, 9(3), 395-411.

Alcorn, N. (2010). Knowledge through a Collaborative Network: A Cross-Cultural Partnership. Educational Action Research, 18(4), 453-466. doi:10.1080/09650792.2010.524783

Anakwe, U. P., Kessler, E. H., & Christensen, E. W. (1999). Distance learning and cultural diversity: Potential users' perspective The International Journal of Organizational Analysis, 7(3), 224-243. doi:doi:10.1108/eb028901

Andrade, A., Ehlers, U., Caine, A., Carneiro, R., Conole, G., Kairamo, A., . . . Holmberg, K. (2011). Beyond OER: Shifting focus to open educational practice (OPAL Report 2011). Retrieved from

Archers, M. S. (1979). Social origins of educational systems. Beverly Hills, CA: Sage.

Asgharzadeh, A. (2008). The Return of the Subaltern: International Education and Politics of Voice. Journal of Studies in International Education, 12(4), 334-363. doi:10.1177/1028315307308137

Auyeung, P., & Sands, J. (1996). A cross cultural study of the learning style of accounting students. Accounting & Finance, 36(2), 261-274. doi:10.1111/j.1467-629X.1996.tb00310.x

Bulger, M., Bright, J., & Cobo, C. (2015). The real component of virtual learning: motivations for face-to-face MOOC meetings in developing and industrialised countries. Information, Communication & Society, 18(10), 1200-1216. doi:10.1080/1369118X.2015.1061571

Butcher, N., & Hoosen, S. (2014). Harnessing OER to drive Systematic Educational Change in Secondary Schooling. Journal of Learning for development, 3(1).

Cachia, R., & Maya-Jariego, I. (2018). Opening education in the MENA region: In-depth interviews and Focus Group data with experts in open education in Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco and Palestine. Retrieved from:

Castaño-Muñoz, J., Kreijns, K., Kalz, M., & Punie, Y. (2017). Does digital competence and occupational setting influence MOOC participation? Evidence from a cross-course survey. Journal of Computing in Higher Education, 29(1), 28-46.

Castaño Muñoz, J., Redecker, C., Vuorikari, R., & Punie, Y. (2013). Open Education 2030: planning the future of adult learning in Europe. Open Learning: The Journal of Open, Distance and e-Learning, 28(3), 171-186. doi:10.1080/02680513.2013.871199

Dunn, R. (1983). Learning style and its relationship to exceptionality at both ends of the spectrum. Exceptional Children, 4(6), 496-506.

Ember, C. R., & Ember, M. (2009). Cross-cultural research methods. Lanham: AltaMira Press.

Forsman, L. (2012). Investigating the cultural dimension in foreign language education – from transmission of facts to dialogical uptake. Educational Action Research, 20(4), 483-496. doi:10.1080/09650792.2012.727602

Garson, K. (2016). Reframing internationalization. The Canadian Journal of Higher Education, 46(2), 19-30.

Gervedink Nijhuis, C. J., Pieters, J. M., & Vogt, J. M. (2013). Influence of Culture on Curriculum Development in Ghana: an undervalued factor? Journal of Curriculum Studies, 45(2), 225-250.

Hatakka, M. (2009). Build it and They Will Come? – Inhibiting Factors for Reuse of Open Content in Developing Countries. The Electronic Journal of Information Systems in Developing Countries, 37(1), 1-16. doi:10.1002/j.1681-4835.2009.tb00260.x

Heine, S. J. (2011). Cultural psychology. New York: WW Norton.

Herbert, S. (2006). The challenges of designing and implementing a cross‐cultural unit of work. Educational Action Research, 14(1), 45-64. doi:10.1080/09650790600585269

Hofstede, G. (1980). Culture’s consequences: International differences in work-related values. Beverly Hills, CA: Sage.

Hofstede, G. (1986). Cultural difference in teaching and learning. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 10, 301-320.

Hofstede, G. (2001). Culture's consequences: Comparing values, behaviours, institutions, and organizations across nations. California: Sage Publications.

Hofstede, G. (2011). Dimensionalizing Cultures: The Hofstede Model in Context. Online Readings in Psychology and Culture, 2(1).

Hofstede, G., & Bond, M. H. The Confucius connection: from cultural roots to economic growth. Organizational Dynamics, 16, 4-21.

Jones, M. (2007). Hofstede - Culturally Questionable? Paper presented at the 2007 Oxford Business and Economics Conference, Oxford, UK.

Knowles, R. V. (2017). A translocal approach to dialogue-based art. (PhD Thesis), Plymouth University.

Knox, J. (2014). Digital culture clash: “massive” education in the E-learning and Digital Cultures MOOC. Distance Education, 35(2), 164-177. doi:10.1080/01587919.2014.917704

Leeds, B. (2014). Temporal experiences of e-learning by distance learners. Education + Training, 56(2/3), 179-189. doi:doi:10.1108/ET-11-2012-0114

Lenartowics, T., & Roth, K. (2001). Does Subculture within a Country Matter? A Cross-Culture Study of Motivational Domains and Business Performance in Brazil. Journal of International Business Studies, 32(2), 305-325.

Lesko, I. (2013). The use and production of OER & OCW in teaching in South African higher education institutions (Case Study). Open Praxis, 5(2), 103-121. doi:

Marcus, A. (2000). International and intercultural user-interface design. In C. Stephanidis (Ed.), User interfaces for all. New York: Lawrence Erlbaum.

Maya Jariego, I. (2017). Localising Open Educational Resources and Massive Open Online Courses.

Maya Jariego, I., & Santolaya, F. J. (2016). Comparison of cultural causal attributions in European and Arabic regions in the Mediterranean. Erasmus+ OpenMed Program. Paper presented at the Open up education in South-Mediterranean countries. UNIMED, Mediterranean Universities Union, May 3-4, 2016., Coventry, United Kindgdom.

Minkov, M., & Hofstede, G. (2012). Hofstede’s Fifth Dimension: New Evidence From the World Values Survey. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 43(1), 3-14.

Nasif, E. G., Al-Daeaj, H., Ebrahimi, B., & Thibodeaux, M. S. (1991). Methodological Problems in Cross-Cultural Research: An Updated Review. MIR: Management International Review, 31(1), 79-91.

Nelson, K. G., & Clark, T. D. (1994). Cross-cultural issues in information systems research: A research program. Journal of Global Information Management, 2(4), 19-29.

OECD (Producer). (2012). Education at a Glance 2012. Retrieved from

Ramburuth, P., & McCormick, J. (2001). Learning diversity in higher education: A comparative study of Asian international and Australian students. Higher Education, 42(3), 333-350. doi:10.1023/a:1017982716482

Richter, T., & McPherson, M. (2012). Open educational resources: education for the world? Distance Education, 33(2), 201-219. doi:10.1080/01587919.2012.692068

Roberts, D. M., Brown, A. M. B., & Edwards, L. (2015). Participatory Action Research in Two Primary Schools in a Rural Tanzanian Village: An Exploration of Factors to Cultivate Changes in Teaching and Learning. Educational Action Research, 23(3), 366-382. doi:10.1080/09650792.2015.1009925

Schkade, L. L., Romani, S., & Uzawa, M. (1978). Human information processing and environmental complexity: An experiment in four cultures. Journal of Management, 8, 56-63.

Schribner, S., & Cole, M. (1981). The psychology of literacy. Cambridge, MA.: Harvard University Press.

Signorini, P., Wiesemes, R., & Murphy, R. (2009). Developing alternative frameworks for exploring intercultural learning: a critique of Hofstede's cultural difference model. Teaching in Higher Education, 14(3), 253-264. doi:10.1080/13562510902898825

Søndergaard, M. (1994). Research Note: Hofstede's Consequences: A Study of Reviews, Citations and Replications. Organization Studies, 15(3), 447-456. doi:10.1177/017084069401500307

Sugahara, S., & Boland, G. (2010). The Role of Cultural Factors in the Learning Style Preferences of Accounting Students: A Comparative Study between Japan and Australia. Accounting Education, 19(3), 235-255. doi:10.1080/09639280903208518

Tang, K. C. C. (1993). Spontaneous Collaborative Learning: A New Dimension in Student Learning Experience? Higher Education Research & Development, 12(2), 115-130. doi:10.1080/0729436930120201

Thomas, A. (2008). Focus groups in qualitative research: culturally sensitive methodology for the Arabian Gulf. International Journal of Research & Method in Education & Training, 31(1), 77-88. doi:10.1080/17437270801919941

UNESCO. (2012). The 2012 Paris OER Declaration. Retrieved from

Venter, K. (2003). Coping with Isolation: the role of culture in adult distance learners' use of surrogates. Open Learning: The Journal of Open, Distance and e-Learning, 18(3), 271-287. doi:10.1080/0268051032000131035

Villar-Onrubia, D., & Rajpal, B. (2016). Online international learning. Perspectives: Policy and Practice in Higher Education, 20(2-3), 75-82. doi:10.1080/13603108.2015.1067652

Yemini, M., & Sagie, N. (2016). Research on internationalisation in higher education – exploratory analysis. Perspectives: Policy and Practice in Higher Education, 20(2-3), 90-98. doi:10.1080/13603108.2015.1062057

Zualkernan, I. A., Allert, J., & Qadah, G. Z. (2006). Learning Styles of Computer Programming Students: A Middle Eastern and American Comparison. IEEE Transactions on Education, 49(4), 443-450. doi:10.1109/TE.2006.882366






Las ideas. Su política y su historia