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Type: Thesis
Title: Chinese Postgraduate Accounting Students’ Learning in Australian Universities: Their Backgrounds, Learning Orientations and Learning Approaches
Author: Wei, Yuxi
Issue Date: 2021
School/Discipline: Business School
Abstract: This thesis reports the process and findings of an empirical study conducted in an Australian university focused on Chinese postgraduate accounting students’ learning. This study was conducted in the context of a preponderance of Chinese students’ in Australian postgraduate accounting programs and recently tightened migration policies. Prior studies on Chinese students’ learning in Western universities have treated Chinese students as a homogenous group but, as Chinese students increase in number and become the majority in postgraduate accounting programs of many Australian universities, the diversity within the group needs to be investigated to obtain a more comprehensive understanding of Chinese students’ learning. This study thus treats Chinese students as a diversified group and aims to understand Chinese postgraduate accounting students’ backgrounds, learning orientations and learning approaches in Australian universities. This study uses the Student Learning in Context model (Ramsden 2003) to interpret the relationships between students’ backgrounds, learning orientations and learning approaches. Students’ learning orientations are measured and analysed using the Self-Determination theory (Deci & Ryan 1985, 1991), while students’ learning approaches are measured and analysed with the Students’ Approaches to Learning (SAL) model (Biggs 1987). Prior research found that Chinese students are strongly motivated to study accounting in Australian universities by favourable migration policies (McGowan & Potter 2008). This extrinsic learning orientation, language barriers and the teacher-centred learning context in China resulted in Chinese students’ adoption of surface learning approaches in Western universities (Evans, Burritt & Guthrie 2010). This learning approach does not fit the Australian accounting education context that promotes deep learning approaches through a student-centred learning context (Wong, Cooper & Dellaportas 2015). This study adopts a quantitative approach to answer three research questions: What are the backgrounds, learning orientations and learning approaches of Chinese students in Australian postgraduate accounting programs? What background and learning orientation factors help explain the differences in Chinese students’ learning approaches? How do Chinese students’ learning orientations and approaches change during the time they study in Australian universities? Longitudinal surveys are used to collect data from 428 postgraduate accounting students at the University of Adelaide, including 316 Chinese students and 112 other students. The findings describe unique characteristics of, as well as diversification within, Chinese students’ backgrounds, learning orientations, and learning approaches. The relationship between Chinese students’ backgrounds, learning orientations, and learning approaches are illustrated. The comparison between semesters found that Chinese students’ extrinsic learning orientations decrease over the length of the study. Their adoption of surface learning approaches increases in the second semester and then decreases to its lowest level in the third semester. This study provides insights to future researchers by treating Chinese students as a diversified group and proposing a combined model that measures and analyses students’ learning orientations and approaches. The empirical findings can help Australian universities better understand their largest international student group and help accounting educators promote deep learning. This study is limited by its small sample, which is a result of environmental restrictions, especially the COVID-19 outbreak in 2020
Advisor: Davidson, Robyn
Howieson, Bryan
Dissertation Note: Thesis (Ph.D.) -- University of Adelaide, Business School, 2021
Keywords: Accounting education
Chinese students
postgraduate students
learning orientations
learning approaches
Provenance: This electronic version is made publicly available by the University of Adelaide in accordance with its open access policy for student theses. Copyright in this thesis remains with the author. This thesis may incorporate third party material which has been used by the author pursuant to Fair Dealing exceptions. If you are the owner of any included third party copyright material you wish to be removed from this electronic version, please complete the take down form located at:
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