Are They Thinking Differently: A Cross-Cultural Study on the Relationship of Thinking Styles and Emerging Roles in Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning

February 5, 2017

Numerous studies have recognized collaboration as an effective way of learning. When collaboration involves students from different cultural backgrounds, a question arises: Will cultural differences influence the manner in which roles are adopted within collaborative learning? In this study, a correlation analysis was used to explore the relationship between cultural factors and emerging roles among collaborating students from two universities in different countries (China and USA). The cultural factors that might hypothetically affect their collaboration were approximated to thinking styles by using Sternberg’s thinking styles inventory. The roles that students adopted according to preferences were coded with an adapted coding scheme. The results indicate a significant relationship between student thinking styles and the adopted roles of students. This finding implies that cultural factors, exhibited as thinking styles, could explain the emerging roles that are adopted in Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning (CSCL). The results could guide teachers in assigning appropriate roles to students with different backgrounds to improve the efficiency of collaboration during cross-cultural CSCL.

Journal of Educational Technology & Society