Cultures of learning: the missing variable

Zarina M Charlesworth


This paper reports on selected results from a multi-stage research project conducted with undergraduate students of diverse nationalities studying in a hospitality management institute. The main aim was to investigate whether students of different cultural backgrounds agree on: what learning is; which strategies to use in learning; and the criteria necessary for successful learning. The research was carried out over three semesters in a series of two-hour workshops held with first semester students (n = 162), using participant-run focus groups. The findings suggest that although students of different cultural backgrounds agree to a certain extent on what learning is and the strategies used to learn, there is a marked difference in the criteria that they put forward as necessary for successful learning. Indeed the differences are such that one can speak of different cultures of learning. This concept is expanded upon and the relationship to learning styles explored. The paper closes with recommendations to educators in the international higher education classroom.

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Editor-in-Chief: Prof Norbert Pachler
UCL Institute of Education, University College London
ISSN 1746-9082