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