Recommendation systems have emerged as a useful e-commerce tool to assist customers in making purchases based on similarities and preferences of others. They require some basis for making recommendations ranging simply from past behaviors to complicated algorithms based on demographic and personality information. This study compares and contrasts the Big Five personality tests against simple past behaviors as part of a learning algorithm for understanding which traits are important in the selection of courses students find appealing.
Online educational programs are on the rise as confirmed by the 2005 Sloan Consortium, a distinct difference of reporting than those in 2001 when the Chronicle of Higher Education reported that online learning had gone “bust”. The growth in the market can be attributed to improvements in course management systems and course technology. Yet, little has been done with one aspect of student support services - sharing information about which courses to take to fulfill requirements, a role traditionally performed using “word of mouth” between students and advisors, alike. The word of mouth approach is not easily transferable to the online student because the student's interaction with other students is oftentimes limited to course discussions and emails, limiting interaction with a broader range of the student body. With the barrier of face-to-face meetings removed, students will potentially face an explosion of courses available.
Big Five Personality Test
Personality research, like any science, relies on quantifiable concrete data which can be used to examine what people are like and why people behave as they do. There have been several major personality tests that are used to help people identify potential careers or to understand management styles include the Big Five, Jung, and Myers-Briggs. The Big Five was originally derived in the 1970's by two independent research teams who took slightly different routes but arrived at similar results: most human personality traits can be boiled down to five broad dimensions of personality, regardless of language or culture. These five dimensions were derived by asking thousands of people hundreds of questions, then analyzing the data using factor analysis. The Big Five is now the most widely accepted and used model of personality.
The bulk of academic research points to only five purely independent personality elements. "Only five" in the sense that every other personality trait will have some correlation to one or more of these five key traits. The Big Five personality system is based on the five proven independent elements: Extroversion, Emotional Stability, Orderliness, Accommodation, and Intellect. These elements make up the primary colors of personality; the interaction of elements in each person yields their overall personality profile.
Each element has two oppositional type extremes:
Extroversion - Social and Reserved type
--Social types feel at ease interacting with to others
--Reserved types are uncomfortable and/or disinterested with social interaction