This exploratory research project investigated how mainland Chinese business students studying overseas conceptualize and describe the learning effectiveness of ten different instructional techniques commonly encountered in their business courses. A large numbers of mainland Chinese students enroll in business courses in private international institutions in Singapore – dislocated from their home cultures – but needing to adapt to Western learning curricula and ultimately to acquire proficiency in Western business practices. Certain instructional techniques are likely to bridge the cultural gap better than others. The paper aims to discuss these issues.
Twenty consenting students selected from 400+ geographically diverse Chinese students participating in a larger study provided face-to-face interview information on how different instructional techniques stimulated different aspects of content acquisition, learner group dynamics, decision-making, learning efficiency, comfort, flexibility, familiarity, and applicability.
Interviewees' free-form descriptions of “learning effectiveness” included phrases such as “quality of learning”, “control over my learning”, “scope of knowledge”, “efficiency of learning”, “gaining/acquiring knowledge”, “understanding theories”, “flexibility in time and place”, “applicability of new information”, “attractive learning environment”, “[absence of] ambiguity and uncertainty”, “security and ease of mind”, etc. Their 340 descriptors were classified into 30 qualitative indicator categories, four of them common to many instructional techniques and ten more specific to individual techniques.
Although Chinese mainland students generally prefer rote-learning styles of instructional techniques due to their prolonged exposure to it, rote-style techniques may not always be the preferred choices for learning effectiveness and adaptation to new culture norms and practices. This paper reports qualitative “consultations” with learners in new cultures and argues for holistic and engaged approaches to learning effectiveness for students dislocated from their home cultures while providing a starting-point for further research in mainland Chinese students' Western-based business education in Singapore and elsewhere.
Rajaram, K. and B. Collins, J. (2013), "Qualitative identification of learning effectiveness indicators among mainland Chinese students in culturally dislocated study environments", Journal of International Education in Business, Vol. 6 No. 2, pp. 179-199. https://doi.org/10.1108/JIEB-03-2013-0010Download as .RIS
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