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S.Y. Wu

University of Kang Ning (TAIWAN)
A structured activity consisting of discussion and interaction in which students in groups work together on a shared assignment is an example of collaborative learning and teaching method often used today. Students engage in information gathering, discussion, debate, and reflection as to improve their understanding of subject explored. However, what types of knowledge construction behavior do students with different personality traits generate during the discussion process is yet to be determined. This study aimed to explore the patterns in quantitative content analysis and lag sequential analysis of the knowledge construction generated by grouped students with different personality traits during online discussion activities. The study applied the Revised NEO Personality Inventory measure and grouping to case studies on Agreeableness and Conscientiousness via lag sequential analysis.

The research questions are:
(a) What is the quantitative content analysis of knowledge construction behavior based on personality grouping in online discussion activities?
(b) What are the behavioral patterns of knowledge construction based on students with different cognitive personality in online discussion activities?

Research subjects of this study included 33 first-year graduate students majoring in Information and Communications research methods, 10 males and 23 females. Students were tested using NEO-PI-R prior to the activity and grouped according to their NEO-PI-R scores; 18 students were categorized into Agreeableness, 9 Conscientiousness, the remaining 6 Neuroticism, Openness to Experience, and Extraversion. Next, each factor was randomly grouped in three, i.e. six groups for Agreeableness, three groups for Conscientiousness, and two groups for Neuroticism, Openness to Experience, and Extraversion. Since this study aimed to explore the differences in learning performance based on personality grouping, so the two groups of Neuroticism, Openness to Experience, and Extraversion were not analyzed.

The conclusions drawn from the quantitative content analysis are that the students with Agreeableness and Conscientiousness tend to focus on information sharing and comparing, and that while students from Conscientiousness Groups lack the ‘testing and modification of proposed synthesis or co-construction’ (C4) behavior, those from Agreeableness Groups exhibit no such limitation, a phenomenon different from the general perception. The results from the lag sequential analysis show that students with Agreeableness generate more interactive discussions in negotiation of meaning and sharing/comparing of information on CPS topics, while students with Conscientiousness did not manifest such behavior. The follow-up interviews revealed the profound effects of a person’s personality not only on his speeches but also his willingness to speak at all. Therefore, teachers are recommended to instruct students with high Conscientiousness to actively participate in discussion activities and encourage all students to respect each other’s opinions and appreciate them from a positive perspective.