The Effects of Culture on Learning Styles: The Sample of Ondokuz Mayıs University
This study examines the effect of culture on learning styles. The study sample consisted of undergraduate and graduate students, most of whom are foreign nationals, studying in different departments of Ondokuz Mayıs University in Samsun, Turkey. Based on the experiential learning theory (ELT), Kolb's Learning Styles Inventory (KLSI) was used as a data collection tool to define individual learning styles. By examining previous studies such as the Global Leadership and Organizational Effectiveness (GLOBE), the study focused on categorizing cultural differences. 193 participants from 35 different nationalities were included in one of three cultural clusters (The Middle East, Africa, and Central Asia). In the first part of the study, the dominant learning styles of each cultural cluster were evaluated based on Kolb's traditional 4 learning styles (diverging, converging, assimilating, and accommodating) and the new 9 learning styles (experiencing, imagining, reflecting, analysing, thinking, deciding, acting, balancing) defined in KLSI 3.2 and KLSI 4. It was analysed whether there was a statistically significant difference in the dominant learning styles among the cultural clusters. The results of the analysis showed that there was no significant difference among the cultural clusters according to 4 learning style classifications, whereas there were significant differences among the cultural clusters according to Kolb’s 9 learning style classifications. In the second part of the study, it was evaluated whether there was a significant difference among the cultural clusters according to the modes of grasping experience – concrete experience (CE) and abstract conceptualization (AC) – and two dialectically related modes of transforming experience—reflective observation defined in the ELT model.
Keywords: learning style, Kolb learning style inventory (KLSI), culture, cultural dimensions, cultural clusters, higher education
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