Learning approaches: Associations with Typical Intellectual Engagement, intelligence and the Big Five

Sophie von Stumm*, Adrian F. Furnham

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Learning approaches, i.e. students' learning strategies and motives, predict academic performance but it is not clear how much variance they share with intelligence and personality. Here, the relationship of the Big Five personality traits, intelligence, and Typical Intellectual Engagement (TIE) with deep, achieving and surface learning was explored in a sample of 579 British undergraduate students. A structural equation model showed that (a) intelligence was negligibly associated with learning approaches; (b) TIE was strongly related to all three types of learning approaches; (c) deep learning shared the greatest amount of variance with TIE, while (d) achieving learning was best explained by Extraversion, Openness to Experience, and Conscientiousness. Only 25% of the variance in surface learning was accounted for by intelligence and personality. Thus, personality traits and learning approaches share much variance but not enough to dismiss either construct as redundant.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)720-723
Number of pages4
JournalPersonality and Individual Differences
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2012


  • Big Five
  • Intelligence
  • Learning approaches
  • Typical Intellectual Engagement

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