The relationships between personality, approaches to learning, and academic success in first-year psychology distance education students

Burton, Lorelle J. and Nelson, Louise (2006) The relationships between personality, approaches to learning, and academic success in first-year psychology distance education students. In: 29th HERDSA Annual Conference: Critical Visions: Thinking, Learning and Researching in Higher Education (HERDSA 2006), 10-12 July 2006, Perth, Australia.

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[Abstract]: The first aim of this study was to examine the relationships between the big five personality traits and approaches to learning in a sample of first-year psychology distance students. Approaches to learning are the intentions a student has when faced with a learning task. A deep approach reflects an intention to understand the material, a strategic approach reflects an intention to achieve the highest grades possible, and a surface approach reflects an intention to cope with the course requirements by memorising facts. Consistent with previous research of on-campus students, the Intellect trait predicted the deep learning approach; the Conscientiousness trait predicted the strategic learning approach; and the Emotional Stability trait negatively predicted the surface learning approach. The second aim of this study was to investigate whether approaches to learning predict academic success, as measured by grade point average. As expected, the surface learning approach negatively predicted achievement. However, contrary to expectations, neither the deep nor the strategic learning approach predicted academic success. This finding may partly be explained by these first-year distance students undergoing a transition to the expectations and requirements of their flexible learning environments. Further research is warranted to establish whether the deep and strategic learning approaches become more likely to predict academic success in the latter years of study, after distance students have adapted to the flexible delivery methods. To this end, a longitudinal study that tracks the academic performance of these students until they complete their degrees or leave the university is recommended.

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Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Commonwealth Reporting Category E) (Paper)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: No evidence of copyright restrictions on web site.
Faculty / Department / School: Historic - Faculty of Sciences - Department of Psychology
Date Deposited: 04 Nov 2007 23:17
Last Modified: 25 May 2012 06:10
Uncontrolled Keywords: personality, learning approaches, academic success
Fields of Research : 17 Psychology and Cognitive Sciences > 1701 Psychology > 170103 Educational Psychology
13 Education > 1301 Education Systems > 130103 Higher Education
13 Education > 1303 Specialist Studies in Education > 130309 Learning Sciences

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