Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to present details of a study investigating learning styles differences of Thai students in England compared to local students in England and Thailand. It also discusses key issues in using learning styles in multicultural and international education, given their wide availability online. Design/methodology/approach – A mixed methods design is used, including a psychometric approach using Vermunt's Inventory of Learning Styles (ILS) with three postgraduate Business student samples – Thai (in England, n =26), European (in England, n =16) and Thai (in Thailand, n =122) and a qualitative approach using focus groups, interviews and open‐ended questionnaires with the Thai (in England, n =43) sample only. Findings – One‐way independent analysis of variance analyses on ILS scores show that learning styles differ significantly between the three samples on each of the test occasions, particularly in meaning‐directed learning and undirected learning. The qualitative data analysis shows that Thai students in England perceive culturally‐determined differences in teaching and learning behaviour between Thai and English higher education environments that can cause difficulties for them. Research limitations/implications – The use of mixed methods gives data of greater breadth and depth than a single method; however, the sample sizes are somewhat limited. Practical implications – Thai students in England require additional support from educators and educational institutions. Originality/value – This paper provides a valuable insight into the learning styles and needs of Thai students in England, given the paucity of research in this area.
Multicultural Education & Technology Journal – Emerald Publishing
Published: Apr 10, 2009
Keywords: Learning styles; Students; Overseas students; Cross‐cultural studies; Thailand; England
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