Cultural differences in learning approaches

D.T. Tempelaar, B.C. Rienties, S.J.H. Giesbers, S. Schim van der Loeff

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademic


Cultural differences in learning-related dispositions are investigated amongst 7,300 first year students from 81 different nationalities, using the framework of Hofstede (Culture’s consequences: international differences in work-related values. Sage, Beverly Hills, 1980). Comparing levels and intercorrelations of implicit theories of intelligence, effort beliefs, academic motivation, achievement goals, learning styles and approaches, and subject attitudes learns that traditional dichotomies often postulated in learning theories, such as those of surface versus deep learning, intrinsic versus extrinsic motivation, self-regulation of learning versus external regulation, and mastery goals versus performance goals, do not manifest in different cultural clusters. In contrast, cluster profiles tend to be rather balanced. Cultural differences in intercorrelations are substantial and again indicate the difficulty of constructing culture-invariant learning theories. One of these differences regards the differentiation of several facets in performance goals and in different aspects of memorisation-based learning processes. Compared to students from other cultures, students of the Confucian culture appear to possess relative undifferentiated conceptions of performance goals and memorisation-based learning processes, what is at odds with contemporary theories of the Chinese learner.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationFacilitating learning in the 21st century: Leading through technology, diversity and authenticity
EditorsP. Van den Bossche, W.H. Gijselaers, R.G. Milter
Place of PublicationBerlin
Number of pages28
ISBN (Print)978-94-007-6136-0
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2013

Publication series

SeriesAdvances in Business Education and Training


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