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Comparing accounting students' instructional preferences: Australia and Zimbabwe


Sithole, STM and Abeysekera, I, Comparing accounting students' instructional preferences: Australia and Zimbabwe, Journal of International Education in Business, 14, (1) pp. 1-19. ISSN 2046-469X (2019) [Refereed Article]


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Copyright 2019 Emerald Publishing Limited. This AAM is provided for your own personal use only. It may not be used for resale, reprinting, systematic distribution, emailing, or for any other commercial purpose without the permission of the publisher’

DOI: doi:10.1108/JIEB-09-2018-0037


Purpose: This study aims to examine the instructional preferences exhibited by students in an Australian and a Zimbabwean setting and how cultural conditioning can reflect in the instructional design choice and the effect on the learning process.

Design/methodology/approach: Using graphical and textual presentations of an experiment with three instructional designs and 217 undergraduate students, this study empirically examines student understanding of financial accounting in the two countries. Students' performance scores and reported mental effort ratings were used to determine the instructional preference.

Findings: The findings of this comparative study show that Australian accounting students prefer graph and text designs aligned with a low power distance, (PD) while Zimbabwean students prefer graph and text designs associated with a high PD. Deep-rooted cultural values and modes of thinking need to be considered in the learning processes.

Research limitations/implications: The sample used in this study came from first-year undergraduate students studying introductory accounting at two different universities from two different countries (Australia and Zimbabwe). The results may not be generalisable to other universities, although similar patterns were found to be consistent with students' cultural orientations. In addition, there may be other factors that motivate students' learning and affect their performance, and those should therefore be considered.

Practical implications: The results suggest that students learning in different cultural contexts learn better with different instructional formats, requiring educators to consider different formats of instructional material.

Originality/value: This study is the first to offer accounting educators insights on one major dimension of cultural variation, using instructional material designed according to cognitive load theory principles in a cross-cultural context.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:accounting, Australian, culture, instructional preferences, Zimbabwean
Research Division:Commerce, Management, Tourism and Services
Research Group:Accounting, auditing and accountability
Research Field:Accounting theory and standards
Objective Division:Education and Training
Objective Group:Teaching and curriculum
Objective Field:Pedagogy
UTAS Author:Sithole, STM (Dr Seedwell Sithole)
ID Code:145310
Year Published:2019
Deposited By:TSBE
Deposited On:2021-07-15
Last Modified:2021-11-24
Downloads:2 View Download Statistics

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