The Big Five personality traits, learning styles, and academic achievement
Personality and learning styles are both likely to play significant roles in influencing academic achievement. College students (308 undergraduates) completed the Five Factor Inventory and the Inventory of Learning Processes and reported their grade point average. Two of the Big Five traits, conscientiousness and agreeableness, were positively related with all four learning styles (synthesis analysis, methodical study, fact retention, and elaborative processing), whereas neuroticism was negatively related with all four learning styles. In addition, extraversion and openness were positively related with elaborative processing. The Big Five together explained 14% of the variance in grade point average (GPA), and learning styles explained an additional 3%, suggesting that both personality traits and learning styles contribute to academic performance. Further, the relationship between openness and GPA was mediated by reflective learning styles (synthesis-analysis and elaborative processing). These latter results suggest that being intellectually curious fully enhances academic performance when students combine this scholarly interest with thoughtful information processing. Implications of these results are discussed in the context of teaching techniques and curriculum design.