Name: Adolph Mbayo Mbao
Student No: R1710D3611630
E-mail: [email protected]
Assignment 3 – Article Review
Shen, D., Cho, M. H., Tsai, C.L., Marra, R. Unpacking online learning experiences: Online learning self-efficacy and learning satisfaction. Internet and Higher Education (2013).
The article reports on a study that had been conducted by the authors. The aim of this study was to identify dimensions of online learning self-efficacy. Shen et al. (2013). Since most researchers are generally agreed that online learning entails self-efficacy of multifaceted dimensions one of the other things they explored “was to identify dimensions of online learning self-efficacy”. They also investigated the role of demographic variables in online learning self-efficacy. These variables included the number of online courses taken, gender, and academic status.
The purpose of the study covered in the article was to look at what makes online effective. In other words what makes it easier for some online students than for others to effectively learn online. It looked at various variables and compared findings with research carried out by other researchers. It also attempted to fill in the gaps left by other researches.
The research could have done well to ensure balance in terms of the gender of the participants and it should have also increased the sample size. The inequality in sex distribution, where almost three quarters (74.1%) of the participants in the study were females, could have had a bearing on the findings as clearly there are differences social interaction between males and females. A bigger sample size would have helped increase the validity of findings, a limitation even the authors acknowledged. The study should also have considered ensuring the demographic representation of the sample was as per the students participating in online learning. This is so as to ensure good representation as well as contribute to the validity of the study.
Proceeding from the theoretical framework that there were a number of multifaceted dimensions to online learning self-efficacy, they were able to identify five of these. They list them as self-efficacy;
1. to complete an online course
2. to interact socially with classmates
3. to handle tools in a Course Management System (CMS)
4. to interact with instructors in online course, and
5. to interact with classmates for academic purposes
The study found that though the validity of the findings may be low due to the sample size, it provided “a reliable instrument that can be used to measure diverse aspects of online self-efficacy”. It was also demonstrated that future research “should consider multiple aspects of self-efficacy in online contexts”. The study found that there were gender differences in self-
efficacy and demonstrated that self-efficacy to complete an online course most significantly explains variances in satisfaction. A student’s “self-judgment about their capabilities to complete an online course was critical for their satisfaction with an online course”. Further, instructor’s proactive approaches for social interaction, such as monitoring and encouragement for social interactions are suggested to students develop the self-efficacy needed to complete an online course.
The researchers collected data from online students as two American universities. They sought the permission of online instructors to include the questionnaire in their online courses. Participants were recruited online and asked to fill in an online survey and based on the responses the data was subjected to several tests to come up with findings. These included Principle Axis Factoring (PAF) extraction method and this was supported by and used in collaboration with other tests. No clear limitation was mentioned by the authors.
The results are quite reliable since the study endeavoured to account for any factors that may reduce its reliability and clearly and clearly acknowledged that there may be need for a larger sample to increase reliability. Moreover, it opened up the bases for suture research as it identified five dimensions which it even tested against various factors at play in online learning. It also established how these dimensions interacted with factors in online learning and how these same dimensions interrelated. The results make a lot of sense.
The study is very important to the body of knowledge as it has been able to fill in the gap identified by prior researches and has been able to bring out the interrelationships and insights into the problem. Its findings make sense to me as I am able to relate to some of the things I have personally observed from the time I enrolled for the course. Further, the study is very strong scientifically as it used scientific methods in data collection and analysis. This fact is strengthened by the fact that it was even approved by the (IRB) and its findings are presented in the internationally accepted scientific format.
When tested amongst the different variables; prior online learning experience, gender and academic status, the statistics showed that the male gender had a lower level of self-efficacy in most of the dimensions listed and that raised a level of concern. While we must individually take ownership of our learning, we must also learn to develop a “no man is an island” (Donne, 1600) or an “each one teach one” (author unknown) mentality. Not only will it help to develop us as individuals, it will also aid in enhancing our self-efficacy to interact with classmates both socially and academically, which is where we see Two of the dimensions out. I made mention earlier that there were major concerns raised regarding level of self-efficacy expressed from the male gender, based on the lower level of self-efficacy observed, the authors urged the instructors to give more attention to that specific sex. It was also derived that the number of online courses taken, played a role in boosting the level of self-efficacy to complete an online course. As it relates to academic status, the article indicated that no noticeable amount of differences were found between graduates and undergraduates in self-efficacy hence the reason it was chosen as a dimension. For student like myself, who have little or no knowledge of nor experience with the online learning platform, I firmly believe that constant monitoring, guidance and evaluation is necessary to aid the reduction of the dropout rate students in the online learning environment (Ali & Leeds, 2009) and to assist in the development of students
level of self-efficacy overall including interacting instructors, ensuring that they can handle too in CMS and effectively complete an online course.
People’s judgement of their capabilities to organize and execute of action required to attain designated types of performances (Bandura, 1986, p. 391), is self-efficacy. We must be mindful of others and know that in every experience there are room for errors and growth, let us use both to strengthen our self-efficacy to; interact with classmates both socially and academically, interact with instructors, complete our online course and effectively handle tools in Course Management System (CMS). This article was written based on tests done on students and empirical researches were carried out.
Bandura, A. (1986).
Name: Adolph Mbayo Mbao