Culturally Based Learning Style Matrix




Societal Patterns

Field Dependence vs Independence

Cooperation vs Competition

Trial  & Error vs Watch then Do

Ambiguity Tolerance

o   Lower Context, Individualistic, Lower Power Distance Societies

o   Dominant American and Western/Northern European Cultures

o   Field Independent

o   Prefer to work alone, task-oriented, individual rewards

o   Respect highly organized planning and approaches

o   Prefer not to ask for help

o   Competitive

o   Expect to work alone, resent group work, hate being dependent on the work of others for grades

o   Are comfortable with mediated communication

o   Evaluate results in comparison with classmates

o   Trial & Error

o   Taught to “think outside the box” and create new solutions

o   Encouraged to Speak Up and contribute


o   Low Tolerance for Ambiguity

o   They like schedules and right or wrong answers

o   Value an organized approach

o   Higher Context, Collective, Higher Power Distance Societies

o   Collective Cultures; Asia, Latin America, Africa, Pacific Islanders, most American Co-Cultures


o   Field Dependent

o   Prefer to work w/others, seek guidance from instructors, favor group rewards

o   See learning as something to be approached collectively, not task driven

o   Will approach instructors for help


o   Cooperative

o   Expect to work with others and share in the rewards/consequences

o   Greatly prefer face-to-face communication

o   Do not liked to be singled out for praise or criticism

o   Watch then Do

o   Value tradition and doing it the “right” way (same as everyone else)

o   Value harmony, humility, and agreement in communication

o   Value silence over speaking

o   High Tolerance for Ambiguity

o   Ambiguity is less likely to create conflict

o   Are comfortable with “winging it”

o   Harmony is more important than accuracy or effectiveness