This study is based on research conducted in the training centre of a helicopter manufacturer. The empirical data were gathered mostly by means of ethnographic research such as participant observation and interviews and supplemented by usability tests with a prototype module. One of the surprising findings was that professional culture had more of an impact on user requirements than ethnic origin or language. The author discusses the quest for a framework which can accommodate the role of cultural factors in training systems - both in the real and virtual worlds - and the importance of context, community and interaction in both human- computer interaction (HCI) studies and eLearning. The analysis includes a discussion of contradictions in the existing training system and issues that may emerge when transferring training materials online. On the basis of the results, guidelines and recommendations are proposed for developing eLearning materials. It is argued that Activity Theory ca
n provide the disparate approaches and models to HCI and eLearning with a common vocabulary for issues emerging in the study of computer- mediated activities.
Edith Maier has a background in applied languages, social
anthropology and information science. She has studied and worked
both as a consultant and a lecturer/researcher in Austria,
Mexico, Ireland, England, France and more recently in
Switzerland (St. Gallen). Her main interests are the interfaces
between different disciplines and cultures.