ASSESSING ONLINE LEARNERS' ACADEMIC SELF-EFFICACY IN A SYMBIOTIC LEARNING ENVIRONMENT

Sadik I. Bulut, Firouz Anaraki

Abstract


A symbiotic relationship in a learning environment represents a mutual benefit that is earned from each other’s learning experience. Symbiotic learning entails self-directed social learning in which everyone involved learns from one another. It is evident that there is a strong positive correlation between self-efficacy beliefs of learners and their academic performance and achievement. Provided that human beings are social creatures, learning occurs in social environments, and self-efficacy is important in achieving academic goals, it is worthwhile to study the impacts of a well-defined virtual social setting on academic self-efficacy. This paper outlines findings from a quantitative study conducted to assess the effects a symbiotic learning environment has on the academic self-efficacy of online learners. The samples were 78 online students who enrolled in one to three time-intensive eight-week-long, fully online courses, in a degree-granting, higher education institution in the United States chosen by using the simple random sampling technique. A true experimental pretest-posttest research study has revealed that online learners who were immersed in a socially rich symbiotic learning environment throughout an online course demonstrated a significant increase in their academic self-efficacy and reached a higher level of self-efficacy compared to students in the control group.

Keywords


Symbiotic learning environment; academic self-efficacy; social learning; online learning; e-learning; collaborative learning; self-directed learning; higher education

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