1. bookVolume 13 (2021): Issue 2 (June 2021)
Journal Details
First Published
25 Apr 2014
Publication timeframe
4 times per year
access type Open Access

The Influence of Culture on Collaborative Learning Practices in Higher Education

Published Online: 27 Sep 2021
Volume & Issue: Volume 13 (2021) - Issue 2 (June 2021)
Page range: 81 - 106
Received: 04 Jun 2021
Accepted: 01 Jul 2021
Journal Details
First Published
25 Apr 2014
Publication timeframe
4 times per year

Objective: This study systematically identifies the various pertinent cultural dimensions and the group processes involved in collaborative peer learning before empirically exploring their associations among a sample of university students.

Methodology: Twenty statements encompassing various cultural dimensions that could possibly influence students’ preferences towards collaborative peer learning practices were incorporated into a survey. The data were collected from 147 multicultural students studying applied sciences in Finland. Chi-squared test of independence was used to test the association between the cultural dimension scores for students and their stated preferences for collaborative learning practices.

Findings: A major finding of this study is that learners from diverse cultural backgrounds have differing modes of engaging in the eight separate collaborative learning processes. The findings clearly reveal that students from cultures that are hierarchical, collectivist, less bound by rules, and traditional are less likely to have any prior familiarity with peer-learning methods. It seems relatively clear that the power distance and collectivism dimensions have the greatest impact on shaping the preferences of students for collaborative peer-learning methods.

Value Added: Very few studies have looked at how the cultural backgrounds of students can influence their use of, and preferences towards, collaborative peerlearning methods. This study identifies key processes in collaborative learning practices, which are shaped by culture as communication, decision-making, leadership, evaluation, trust building, the expression of disagreement, scheduling, and persuasion within a peer group.

Recommendations: This study found that Hofstede’s framework might be too constraining when understanding how culture shapes a student’s preferences towards collaborative peer learning in the educational context. It would be even more fruitful to develop an altogether endogenous framework that is more suitable for exploring the influence of culture on learning and education. Such a model should identify the various dimensions of culture beyond those of national identity and consider how they jointly influence attitudes towards collaborative learning rather than considering them in isolation. This model should also take a more dynamic approach towards both culture and learning.


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