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Learning styles across cultures: suggestions for educators

Zarina M. Charlesworth (Glion Institute of Higher Education, Bulle‐en‐Gruyère, Switzerland)

Education + Training

ISSN: 0040-0912

Article publication date: 21 March 2008




This paper seeks to present research findings on the relationship between culture and learning styles, as defined by Honey and Mumford in a Higher Education setting.


The research was conducted with first semester students studying in an International Institute of Higher Education. A questionnaire administered to students (n=113) of Indonesian, Chinese and French origin was analysed in order to compare their learning style preferences. This was followed by a detailed item‐by‐item analysis of their responses to the same questionnaire.


In the first instance, the data support a relationship between learning styles preferences and cultural background at the outset of a programme of Higher Education. Subsequent analysis provides insight into the nature of these differences.

Research limitations/implications

The generalizability of the research findings is limited owing to the nature of the sample.

Practical implications

Educators in both Higher Education and business settings can draw on these research findings. It is suggested that allowing incoming students to explore learning style differences will enhance their understanding of how they go about learning as well as possibly influence their learning outcomes. Parallels have been drawn with incoming international employees.


These findings have relevance for educators, both in Higher Education and in industry, concerned with how to best develop international graduates and managers.



Charlesworth, Z.M. (2008), "Learning styles across cultures: suggestions for educators", Education + Training, Vol. 50 No. 2, pp. 115-127.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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