Academic success in any context is dependent upon a student’s belief in their ability to succeed. While learning online, a students’ self-efficacy is affected by their confidence in their ability to interact within the online environment. With the proliferation of personalized learning and the growth of Massive Open Online Courses, this growing trend is a shift in focus from the centralized brick-and-mortar locus of control, to one of enabling student choice and agency for how, when, and where they learn. In the pre-pandemic setting, this research study examined the personality types of students enrolled in eight sections of four online courses in educational technology, and the role self-efficacy for learning online played in their academic performance. Key findings reveal that personality affects learners’ academic achievement in a moderately significant way, self-efficacy for online learning affects learners’ academic achievement in a small but significant way, and student conscientiousness and academic performance were significantly and fully mediated by self-efficacy for learning online. There were no mediation effects with the other personality traits. A discussion around learning design strategies is provided. The authors recommend that institutions adopt more flexible learning options for teaching and learning that include both online and blended learning options that provide students’ choice and agency over the learning experience enabling the institution to be better equipped for what the uncertain future of education holds.

Code, J., Zap, N. & Ralph, R. (2021). Academic success online: Mediating the effects of personality and self-efficacy in online learning. International Journal on E-Learning, 20(4), 377-410. (FA) [Preprint available at:]