In 2005, economist Jim O’Neill presented a research paper identifying 11 countries as having a high potential of becoming some of the world's largest economies in the twenty-first century. They dubbed these emerging economies as the Next Eleven (N-11): Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, Turkey, South Korea and Vietnam.
It’s important to note that the term emerging economies encompasses countries that are either developing economies or newly industrialized ones. O’Neill posited that “countries with huge populations and low gross domestic products per capita will be able to catch up to the developed world more quickly than they could have 50 or 100 years ago, as the economic centre of gravity shifts away from the West.”
How does the development of emerging economies relate to e-learning? When US companies invest in emerging economies by creating new offices in other countries, they immediately generate a new workforce, and that workforce needs to be trained. Not surprisingly, many companies will opt for the relatively less expensive option of online training (e-learning) rather than classroom-based training, especially as these countries develop information and communication technology infrastructure and improve access to the internet. However, these efforts create challenges for all aspects of e-learning because e-learning is not simply software; instead, it is a cultural artifact imbedded with the values and norms of the designing culture, which can be completely different than those of the recipient learners. As many companies that have invested in BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China) have already discovered, there are definite cultural obstacles to doing business that they never encountered in domestic ventures. What do e-learning designers need to know when designing online courses for learners in emerging economies? . . .