Article

The impact of learning theories, education programmes and culture on teaching and learning styles

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Abstract

On the basis of results of the first KOM1 paper2 (Topic: Cultural differences between India and Germany) the second KOM paper3 has presented the results of interviews on cultural differences regarding soft skills. In the next step it shall be analyzed 1) in which way the educational system/culture, respectively the national sections of education programmes, and 2) in which way the diverse development of learning theories do have an impact on teaching and learning styles. To do so the results of the OECD4 report and the Goldman Sachs BRIC's model5 on education shall be helpful for a deeper understanding of current activities in the area of higher education. The background to raising these questions is the possible interdependence between a) globalisation of (higher) education systems and b) different learning styles. In the first part of the paper, learning theories shall be discussed. On the one hand there are the behaviourists' theories - based on stimulus-response interaction. On the other hand there are cognitive approaches - based on the cognitive activity of the learner. The latter theories reflect the current shift from teaching to learning. Nowadays the focus is not so much on the lecturer but much more on the student. This development goes together with a rising importance of didactic approaches such as spiral curriculum, teamwork, project work etc. In the second part of the paper the impact of culture / politics shall be described. Current changes in the educational system, as for instance the "Bologna process" in the European Union, shall be depicted and current trends shall be outlined. In the third part of the paper hypotheses shall be derived from the synopsis in the first and the second part as far as the influence of culture on professor-student interaction and the influence of culture on the role of lecturers etc. is concerned. It might be assumed that the process of learning is not only influenced by culture, by the political environment and the national education system of one's home country (cf. part 2) but likewise by the history of learning theories in general - regardless of the cultural background one belongs to (cf. part 1).

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