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Cross-cultural differences in university students' goals and perceptions of study settings for achieving their own goals

Volet, S.E.ORCID: 0000-0001-8450-6663 and Renshaw, P.D. (1995) Cross-cultural differences in university students' goals and perceptions of study settings for achieving their own goals. Higher Education, 30 (4). pp. 407-433.

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International education and university study exchange programs are now widely established around the world. Yet little is known about possible cultural differences in international and local students' goals and perceptions, and about how international students adapt to the specific academic requirements of the host country. The mediating role of student's goals and perceptions, as well as the dynamic and adaptive nature of those cognitions have been emphasised in theories of self-regulation of learning and empirical research on student learning. The present study examined the extent to which international students' ways of thinking about learning, learning goals and perceptions of the usefulness of typical university study contexts differ from local students at the beginning of their study in the host university, and then become similar to that of local students after a period of time. Comparisons of matched groups of international students (from South-east Asia) and local (Australian) students revealed evidence of cultural/educational differences between their conceptualisation of goals at the beginning of their university study but this difference disappeared after one semester. At the start of their university study, South-east Asian students displayed higher levels of goals than local students, but neither group was certain yet which study settings would be most useful for achieving their personal goals. After one semester, South-east Asian students had become more like local students but the two groups' overall patterns of change over time were similar, providing further support for the view that the specific characteristics of study environments have a strong impact on students' learning. South-east Asian students' clear differentiation of the usefulness of typical study settings for the achievement of high vs low level goals however, contrasted with local students' undifferentiated view that individual study is the most useful form of learning.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Education
Publisher: Springer
Copyright: 1995 Kluwer Academic Publishers
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