Edith Cowan University, Western Australia in association with Khon Kaen University, Thailand and Bansomdejchaopraya Rajabhat University, Thailand.
Collaborative learning has been accepted as an effective learning style that can enhance students‘ and instructors‘ ability to create knowledge and develop understanding. To enhance an effective collaboration learning environment needs the sharing of similar knowledge, background and experience through information communication technologies (ICT). There are a number of ways in which culture influences the use of these information technologies. The cultural characteristics, which can be viewed as the influencing factors on knowledge sharing in a virtual classroom, are power distance, uncertainty avoidance, individualism and collectivism. The main purpose of this study was to investigate how the differences in cultural values affect the way Thai students in both Thailand and Australia access and share knowledge in a virtual classroom. According to Hofstede, the national culture between Thais and Australians are different in the degree of power distance, uncertainty avoidance and individualism/collectivism. Thais are likely to have high power distance, high uncertainty avoidance and collectivism while Australians have low power distance, low uncertainty avoidance and individualism. A qualitative method using t-test and Multiple Regression analysis was chosen to test the research hypotheses that Thai students in Thai universities have greater difficulty in knowledge sharing than Thai students in Australian universities. A questionnaire survey designed to identify cultural differences was administrated to 100 students in Thai universities and 100 students in Australian universities who used ICT for sharing knowledge in their virtual classroom. The findings of the study and recommendations will be outlined. The research outcome of the study can assist project managers in implementing effective open-wide knowledge exchange systems.