The Problems of Applying Labels of Learning Style to National Cultures

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In recent years it has become prevalent to attach learning style labels to groups. It is the contention of this paper that this practice may lead learning style labels being attached to groups that are either incorrect or unrepresentative of that group. Or if they have been correctly applied they may lead to preferred methods of teaching and learning being overlooked as they are considered to be preferred by a different learning style.

This paper considers the learning styles models of Kolb and Honey and Mumford in relation to applying them to national cultures. The paper uses research that examines the learning preferences of a group of Chinese students and compares them with learning preferences that are ascribed to different learning styles using the analysis of Kolb and Honey and Mumford.

The paper concludes that applying learning style labels to national groups may be lead to misdescription of the group. It may lead to preferred learning and teaching activities being overlooked while learning and teaching activities that are disliked are used.


Keywords: Learning Styles, National Cultures, Learning and Teaching
Stream: Curriculum and Pedagogy; Student Learning, Learner Experiences, Learner Diversity
Presentation Type: 30 minute Paper Presentation in English
Paper: , Problems of Applying Labels of Learning Style to National Cultures, The


Dr. Kevin Nield

Faculty Learning, Teaching and Assessment Co-ordinator
Faculty of Organisation and Management, Sheffield Hallam University

Sheffield, South Yorkshire, UK

Dr. Kevin Nield Ed. D. MSc, BA (Hon), PGCE, Faculty LTA Co-ordinator and Teaching Fellow. Kevin has worked in a wide variety of positions within the catering and retail industries. He joined Sheffield Hallam University in 1990 and is currently the Faculty LTA Co-ordinator and Teaching Fellow in the Faculty of Organisation and Management. His main pedagogic research interests are in the areas of enhancing graduate employability, supporting international students and improving teaching and learning through staff development. He is the author of over 60 research papers, refereed articles, chapters in books and books on subjects such as Chinese learners, employability, quality management and has given many presentations at international conferences. Kevin is Director of the Centre for Pedagogic Innovation and Research.

Ref: L09P0655