The influence of Personality traits (Big-5) on Social Presence in an Online Learning Environment.

  • Caroline Van Leijenhorst - de Waard

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


Distance learning is a form of education where the students are not physically present to receive education. One consequence of this form of education is that collaboration can be place- and time dependent. The learning success of students herein is partly determined by the experienced social presence that the student experiences of fellow students and teachers. Also, in this form of education, students need to collaborate with each other. When collaborative learning takes place online, it is crucial that students experience each other’s social presence. It influences student social interaction, group dynamics and satisfaction with collaborative learning. Because research shows that personality is a factor that influences collaboration and learning success, it is relevant to investigate what influence personality traits have on the perceived social presence. For this quantitative research, students of the Master’s in Educational Sciences at the Open University were approached. They all follow a module in which they work in small groups online on a joint product, or give each other peer feedback. By means of regression analyses, the relation between the predictor variables and the criterion variable is investigated to answer the research question: what is the influence of personality traits (Big-5) on perceived social presence of fellow students while collaborating in an online learning environment. The results of this research show a significant relation of the personality trait openness on experiencing social presence, specifically on 'awareness of others'. Of the personality traits extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness and neuroticism, no relation is found with perceived social presence.

Date of Award21 Dec 2021
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorKarel Kreijns (Supervisor)


  • social presence
  • personality characteristics
  • collaboration
  • online learning environment

Master's Degree

  • Master Onderwijswetenschappen

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