Date of Award

Spring 5-7-2011

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Middle-Secondary Education and Instructional Technology

First Advisor

Wanjira Kinuthia, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Laurie Brantley-Dias, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Mary B. Shoffner, Ph.D.

Fourth Advisor

Geeta Verma, Ph.D.


The purpose of this research is to identify complex cultural dynamics in theinstructional design process of a cross-sector, cross-border training environment by applying Young’s (2009) Culture-Based Model (CBM) as a theoretical framework and taxonomy for description of the instructional design process under the conditions of one case. The guiding question of this study is: How does culture, as defined by Young’s (2009) CBM framework, interact with the instructional design process in this case of a cross-sector, cross-border training program?

This research uses the qualitative approach of case study and applies a cultural design framework to examine the process of instructional design by a team of designers-by-assignment in a NASA/university consortium program to train applied research and development teams for an education software company headquartered in India. Fifteen representative participants were chosen to reflect each role involved in the training program and instructional design process, including management, instructors and students. In over two years of engagement with participants, data was gathered at a NASA space center and in Mumbai, India through interviews, observation and artifact analysis. Data was analyzed to identify where components of the design process, decisions of the design team, and perceptions of the stakeholders overlap with culture as defined by Young’s CBM framework.

The findings indicate that at least twenty-three distinguishable elements of culture interact across the design process in the: 1) goals and funding decisions of the client; 2) goals and design decisions of the design team; 3) perceptions of the training program of all stakeholders; and 4) the observable outcomes of the training program. The findings also offer insight into what stakeholders do or do not consciously attribute to culture. By empirically illuminating the pervasive presence of cultural interactions across the instructional design process, this study advocates for culture to be recognized as a construct of importance in our field and demonstrates the powerful capabilities of using a comprehensive descriptive model as a lens for exploring cultural dynamics in the instructional design process.


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