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Occupational therapy students' approaches to learning: considering the impact of culture

Watson, Jo, Chapman, Judith, Adams, Jo and Nila, Ummey Hamila (2006) Occupational therapy students' approaches to learning: considering the impact of culture British Journal of Occupational Therapy, 69, (12), pp. 548-555.

Record type: Article


Learning approaches describe the way individuals approach tasks or learning situations and are influenced by individual characteristics and specific learning contexts. Cultural factors are likely to impact on various aspects of learning, yet the literature disagrees over the extent to which culture influences approaches to learning. With increasing cultural diversity in student cohorts and the contributions of western therapists to occupational therapy programmes in developing nations, this issue is worthy of exploration within the context of pre-registration education.

The Approaches to Study Inventory (ASI) was used to explore differences in the approaches to learning of UK and Bangladeshi occupational therapy students studying in their home countries. Significant differences between the groups revealed that the Bangladeshi students display both stronger tendencies for deep approaches to learning (p <0.05) and for less integrated superficial approaches to learning (p < 0.05). This apparent contradiction required careful consideration.

There is no single ‘correct’ way to learn. This study’s results reinforce the need for cultural sensitivity in not only clinical, but educational contexts. The cultural biases underpinning the constructs of deep and superficial learning approaches are explored. Educators are encouraged to recognise the potential for culture to influence how students engage within the learning environment and how they themselves construct the learning opportunities.

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Published date: December 2006
Keywords: approaches to learning, culture of learning, occupational therapy education


Local EPrints ID: 55768
ISSN: 0308-0226
PURE UUID: cc5fe8ab-935f-4ef3-ac7b-1d7eeb1a1fad
ORCID for Jo Watson: ORCID iD

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Date deposited: 05 Aug 2008
Last modified: 17 Jul 2017 14:32

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Author: Jo Watson ORCID iD
Author: Judith Chapman
Author: Jo Adams
Author: Ummey Hamila Nila

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