Cross-cultural Learning Styles in Higher Education

Dr. Gerhard Apfelthaler,
Prof. Katrin Hansen,
Stephan Keuchel,
Martin Neubauer,
Siow Heng Ong,
Dr. Nirundon Tapachai
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The past decades have brought about a dramatic rise in international mobility of students. Various funding mechanisms promoting international student exchanges and a general trend towards globalization of education have made classrooms worldwide multicultural. With diverse classrooms also comes a diversity in learning behaviour of students which sometimes poses serious challenges for students, faculty, and administrators in higher education. This is especially true for German-speaking countries which see a dramatic increase of Asian students in their programs. When researching the question if students from different nations show variance in their learning behaviour, literature at first seems to provide helpful assistance. A plethora of research has been done on the learning behaviour of Asian students using a variety of different instruments. These instruments include the Revised Study Process Questionnaire (R-SPQ) by Biggs, Kember and Leung (2001), the Revised Approaches to Studying Inventory (RASI) in various versions by Entwistle (1992, 1994, 1995), the Approaches to Study Skills inventories for Students (ASSIST) by Tait, Entwistle and McCune (1998), the Inventory of Learning Styles (ILS) by Vermunt and Van Rijswijk (1987) and many others. Unfortunately the existing results from literature research are of limited relevance. First, results are inconclusive with some authors identifying the Asian learner in general as surface and rote learners, while others are challenging this view. Secondly, the large number of different instruments makes it difficult to compare results. Thirdly, the majority of existing research is focused entirely on Asian learners in Hong Kong and Australia. This present paper reports EU-funded research which is currently conducted by a team of researchers from Austria, Germany, Singapore and Thailand. The final paper will report on the findings resulting from a large-scale survey in two German-speaking and two Asian countries, and will outline some of the implications stemming from this research.

Keywords: Cross Cultural Learning Styles, Higher Education
Stream: Community, Culture, Globalisation
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: Cross-cultural Learning Styles in Higher Education

Dr. Gerhard Apfelthaler

Chair of Department, Professor, Department of International Management, University of Applied Sciences, FH Joanneum Graz

Prof. Katrin Hansen

Professor, Department of Business Studies, University of Applied Sciences, FH Gelsenkirchen

Stephan Keuchel

Professor, Department of Business Engineering, University of Applied Sciences, FH Gelsenkirchen

Martin Neubauer

Department of International Management, University of Applied Sciences, FH Joanneum Graz

Siow Heng Ong

Professor, Department of Business Studies, Singapore Management University

Dr. Nirundon Tapachai

Deputy Dean, Professor, Department of International and Research Affairs, Kasetsart University, Bangkok

Ref: L05P0226