Cultural differences, learning styles and transnational education



Publication Details

Heffernan, T., Morrison, M., Basu, P. & Sweeney, A. (2010). Cultural differences, learning styles and transnational education. Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management, 32 (1), 27-39.


Australian universities have been active participants in the transnational education market over the past twenty years. Many Australian universities have structured various forms of franchising arrangements with universities and other education providers, particularly with educational institutions in China. However, the cultural differences between Australia and China are substantial; furthermore, research has shown that Chinese students have unique characteristics that differentiate them from Western students. Nevertheless, Australian universities develop and implement programs in China with limited understanding of these differences. Consequently, to administer these programs better academics need to understand the differences that might exist in Chinese student cohorts. One area of possible difference is learning styles. Hence, the aim of this study was to explore the differences in learning styles between business students in China and Australia. The results suggest that there are substantial differences in learning styles between the two countries. Consequently, program managers need to consider these differences when structuring course offerings for students in China.

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