Changes in approaches to learning of international students in their first year at an Australian tertiary institution

Year: 1997

Author: Gordon, Mira, Cantwell, Robert H., Moore, Phillip J.

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Australian Higher Education is undergoing significant change as it seeks to accommodate the large increase in international students now studying in Australian universities. Between 1989 and 1996 the number of international students studying in Australian universities increased from 21,000 to 53,000.

This paper will report on the approaches to learning identified by a group of international students as they commenced their study in an Australian university. Over the course of their first year of study, the extent to which the students identified changes in their approaches to learning is evaluated. Cultural background and language competency on arrival are amongst a number of factors considered. The extent to which instruments developed to identify the approaches to learning of tertiary students can be applied cross culturally is briefly examined.

The findings may be of some interest to educators in Australian Higher Education institutions as they seek to address the challenges of internationalising their curricula and identifying the extent to which international students are able to accommodate different approaches to learning.