Cognitive style and cross cultural differences in internet use and computer attitudes

Martin Graff, Jo Davies, Maggy McNorton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


One of the challenges facing instructional designers is in producing e-learning systems, which take account of individual differences such as nationality, gender and more importantly from an educational perspective, cognitive learning style. Accordingly, it would seem pertinent to investigate such individual difference factors with respect to computer use generally, as a means of informing e-learning instructional design. 170 undergraduate students (103 Chinese and 67 UK) completed the Cognitive Styles Index (Allinson and Hayes, 1996), a computer attitude scale (Smalley, Graff and Saunders, 2001), and also a questionnaire on their knowledge of the Internet and how effectively they used the Internet. The results revealed that Chinese students displayed a more favourable behavioural attitude than the UK students. Also, Chinese participants reported higher Internet usage than UK participants. Nationality also interacted with age on attitude scores, with the greatest variation between age groups in the Chinese sample. The results are discussed in terms of the implications of this research for the design of e-learning systems.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Journal of Open, Distance and E-Learning
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2004


  • cognitive style
  • computer attitudes
  • internet use
  • cross-culture


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