Informal intercultural learning online: Yahoo! Answers community and students’ homework questions about the lessons of the Holocaust

Alon Lazar, Tal Litvak Hirsch


This investigation suggests that apart from the discussions taking place within classrooms engaged in
intercultural education, students' modes of learning are also potentially influenced informally by the reactions of
members of social Questions and Answering (Q&A) communities, where advice is sought by students attempting to
address their intercultural educational homework assignments. The analysis focuses on questions dealing with the
lessons to be learnt from the Holocaust, answered by Yahoo! Answers community. While few of these answerers denied
the existence of the Holocaust, the majority attempted to provide what they considered to be helpful comments,
stressing mainly that the lessons of the Holocaust have not been learnt. Respondents point out that other cases of
genocides and persecutions have occurred since 1945, that prejudice is alive and well, that by nature humans are cruel,
that the world doesn’t want to learn the lessons of the Holocaust and that it is important to be cautious of individual
leaders. A smaller number were positive, and suggested that some Holocaust lessons have been learnt. Intercultural
educators are called upon to familiarize themselves with Q&A communities, and help their students to become critical
of the views shared on these platforms.


Intercultural education; Holocaust; online communities; homework; students

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