This paper was published as Working Paper 41 by the Centre for Labour Market Studies, University of Leicester. It is available from http://www.clms.le.ac.uk/research/wpapers.lassoMetadata only entryConceptions of learning and preferred learning approaches have been suggested to vary cross-culturally. The extent to which learning is 'student centred' or 'teacher centred' also appears subject to cultural variation. This has led some to conclude that particular cultures exhibit learning preferences more suited to distance learning than do other cultures. By removing the teacher's physical presence, the isolation of distance learning provides an ideal forum to explore the impact of perceptions of the role of the teacher on student experiences of learning. This paper explores culture's impact on responses to isolation by examining the experiences of adult distance learners around the world and argues that different perceptions of the teacher's role impact upon the aspects of isolation that seem important and the strategies that students use to address it. Two distinct isolation experiences emerge. These, it is argued, can be classified as a 'surrogate teacher' model in the Asian cultures of Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia and a 'student identity model' in Europe
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