Examining International Students’ Attitudinal Learning in a Higher Education Course on Cultural and Language Learning

Keywords: Attitude Change, Attitudinal Learning, Cultural Learning, Higher Education, International Students, Language Learning


This study examined students’ perceptions of attitudinal learning outcomes and instructional activities within a language and cultural exchange (LACE) course at a midwestern U.S. university and explored whether perceptions differed based on students’ prior knowledge, major, and/or demographics. We utilized a mixed-methods approach to gather quantitative data from a survey sent out in Weeks 5 and 15 to 137 international students enrolled in multiple sections of a LACE course that gathered perceptions on attitudinal learning and the most impactful aspects of the course design. Follow-up structured interviews were conducted with 37 students. Results indicated students saw growth in their attitudinal learning, with the highest perceived gains regarding cognitive and then behavioral components. Data from student interviews provided specific examples of how student attitudes were changed in each of these four areas of learning. Limitations and future research are discussed.


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Author Biographies

William R. Watson, Purdue University, USA

WILLIAM R. WATSON, PhD, is an Associate Professor of Learning Design and Technology at Purdue University. His research focuses on the critical, systemic change of education to realize a personalized learning paradigm, including the application of technology such as video games, virtual environments, and learning management applications in order to facilitate personalized learning.

Sunnie Lee Watson, Purdue University, USA

SUNNIE LEE WATSON, PhD, is an Associate Professor of Learning Design and Technology at Purdue University. Her research interest focuses on the design of information age, learner-centered education, including attitude change instruction and the integration of information-age learning technology such as MOOCs and PIES.

Sarah E. Fehrman, Purdue University, USA

SARAH FEHRMAN, MA, is a PhD student in Learning Design and Technology at Purdue University. Her major research interests are sociocultural adjustment, online course design, and attitudinal change in cross-cultural learning.

Ji Hyun Yu, University of Michigan, USA

JI HYUN YU, PhD, is a Learning Experience Designer in the Center for Academic Innovation at the University of Michigan. Her research is situated at the intersection of learning experience design and data analytics, focusing on data-informed design for personalized and rigorous learning in online settings.

Shamila Janakiraman, Purdue University, USA

SHAMILA JANAKIRAMAN, MS, is a doctoral candidate in the Learning Design and Technology program in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction at Purdue University. Her research interests are in game-based learning, attitude change instruction, online teaching and learning, MOOCs, sustainability education and adult education. Specifically, her dissertation research focuses on the use of game-based learning to change attitudes in environmental sustainability.


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How to Cite
Watson, W. R., Watson, S. L., Fehrman, S. E., Yu, J. H., & Janakiraman, S. (2020). Examining International Students’ Attitudinal Learning in a Higher Education Course on Cultural and Language Learning. Journal of International Students, 10(3), 664-687. https://doi.org/10.32674/jis.v10i3.1083
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