Personality Type and the Configuration of Online Learning Groups

Friday, 28 July 2017

Deborah Mandel, PhD
Nursing, West Chester University, Exton, PA, USA
Mary Ann Dailey, PhD
Department of Nursing, Slippery Rock University, Slippery Rock, PA, USA

In nursing courses, 3 to 5 or more students are required to work within a group and complete assignments. Within a classroom environment, faculty and students are more aware of student personalities and their ability to work together within a group. However, in online courses, most students and faculty never meet in a face-to-face situation and students may not know their peers. For this reason, selection of students for a specific work group frequently occurs through random assignment, random selection, assignment by surname, or some other method selected by the faculty. Because group work is not favored by many students, the random process of group selection can cause individual and group dissatisfaction Using a personality typology survey and making student assignments based upon the results of each student's 16 unique personality traits (i.e., beyond introversion and extraversion) could create groups that work more effectively and meet student learning outcomes.

The population selected for this research study was comprised of RN-BSN students enrolled in online courses within two nursing programs in two different universities, Slippery Rock University (SRU) and West Chester University (WCU), within the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education. After obtaining IRB approval from both schools, students were asked to participate in the study for the fall 2016 semester. At the beginning of the semester, students enrolled in NURS 327 (SRU) and NSG 311-90 (WCU) were invited to participate in the research study using a “Generalized Announcement About the Research Project”. Contained within this announcement was an explanation about the project and its purpose. If the student decided to participate in the research project, then the student was asked to complete the Informed Consent Form. Submission of the form demonstrated each students' willingness to participate in the research project. Following submission of the consent, students were asked to complete the Open Extended Jungian Type Scales 1.2 (OEJTS)™ survey, which took approximately 7-minutes. Results of the OEJTS 1.2 were used to create groups based upon complimentary personalities of each student member. Those students who did not wish to participate in the research project were randomly assigned to a non-study group to complete the assignments. Following completion of the group assignments, each student anonymously completed The Team Development Measure (a VA trademarked tool), which uses 31 statements to measure team characteristics. Within this study, data will be collected until December 19, 2016, the end of the semester.