Purpose – The purpose of this study is to examine the relationship between the cultural background of students and their learning approaches in a first year undergraduate accounting program.
Design/methodology/approach – While prior research in this area has more generally focused on the investigation of the approaches to learning by accounting students, there appears to have been little investigation into the learning approaches of students from different cultures who are studying accounting together at the same institution. The paper presents the results of a study of 550 students enrolled in an undergraduate accounting program at a multi-campus university in Victoria, Australia, which used Biggs' study process questionnaire (SPQ) to assess the approaches to learning utilised by local and Chinese students.
Findings – The results showed that, while there were no significant differences in the use of surface and deep learning strategies by the Chinese and Australian students, there were significant differences in the learning motives of the two groups. Furthermore, the results contradict prior claims that Asian students rely principally on the memorisation and reproduction of factual information as a means of achieving academic success.
Originality/value – The study provides support for the notion that Chinese students may in fact have a culturally induced bias towards seeking understanding through deeper approaches to study.
Field of Research
130399 Specialist Studies in Education not elsewhere classified