Relationships Between Learners’ Personality Traits and Transactional Distance within an e-Learning Environment (Casteel, 2016)


The relationship between personality traits and learner outcomes has been demonstrated within a variety of environments. However, the extent of the relationship between Five-Factor Model personality traits and transactional distance had not previously been examined within the asynchronous video e-learning environment. It was not known if personality traits were predictive of transactional distance in this environment. This question was addressed through a quantitative correlational study conducted online using an interactive course. Participants (N= 98) were recruited online from across the U.S. All participants completed the Big Five Inventory, three modules of a video-based communications course, and the Structure Component Evaluation Tool (SCET), a measure of transactional distance (TD) in which high scores indicate more desirable or small transactional distance. Pearson correlation analysis was conducted between each personality trait and SCET values to measure the relationship. It was found that Openness (r = .25, N = 98, p = .02) and Extroversion (r = .28, N = 98, p = .005) exhibited significant positive correlations with SCET scores; therefore, as the strength of these personality traits increased, the transactional distance decreased. Regression analysis demonstrated that personality traits were predictive of TD (F(5, 92) = 3.99, p = .003, R2 = .18, Adjusted R2 = .13) and that Extroversion (R2 = .08, p = .005) and Openness (R2 = .062, p = .01) independently explained 14.2% of transactional distance variance. Based upon the findings, instructional developers should consider the role of personality traits during the creation of video-based instructional material.

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