About the Study

Recent studies have proven that small wins repeated over time can lead to increased self-efficacy and confidence. Accomplishment of small milestones along the way support a sense of achievement, with each successful step toward a goal serving to increase self-esteem. Additionally, comparison of self in relation to others working on the same task impacts efficacy and esteem. Finally, recognition from a boss, a teacher, or an admired authority helps further increase self-esteem (Dweck, 2008).


Using the Schwarzer Self-Efficacy Scale, self-efficacy of women in Northern Thailand were compared at the beginning and at the end of the course. Many, if not all of the women in this course had never taken an online course. They may be feeling insecure and lack confidence (efficacy) in their skill and ability, which impacts self-efficacy. This study sought to understand if their perception of self-efficacy
improves as a result of the course process, content and design.

Study Goal: 

The goal of this study was to determine if rewarding small achievements around each competency builds self-esteem.

Using Facebook, each learning competency was broken out as a discrete weekly lesson, and at the end of each lesson, we reinforced achievement of that skill through the use of badges and acknowledgement. Students would complete their lesson activities and post their responses as a reply on the class Facebook page. Once posted, instructors would review their work and provide congratulations and positive feedback, and students would receive a badge corresponding to that skill:

 

The Class Facebook can be viewed here. As you scroll down the page you will see each lesson is composed of a reading and an activity. If you open the Replies, you can see students' posting of their work, and the praise and badges rewarded to their posts. 

ENT001: Entrepreneurship Module 1

Findings

At the end of the class we found a 15% increase of self-efficacy in the Schwarzer Self-Efficacy Scale. Even more exciting were the comments by the students in the post-class interview. Students felt the the acknowledgements and badges were motivating and helped them feel that they were on track and doing well. One student commented, "I was so happy to get them. I felt like I did a good job and it motivated me!"

Connecting findings to Dweck's mindset, students felt they were achieving mastery through verbal and emotional support. They also found support in observing each other's successes.

 

Reference
Dweck, Carol S. (2008). Mindset: The new psychology of success. New York: Ballantine Books.

 

Schwarzer, R. (ed.) 91993). Measurement of perceived self-efficacy: Psychometric scales for cross-cultural research. Berlin: Freie University

Research

 

Influenced by Dweck’s Growth Mindset model (2008), our instructional strategy celebrates achievement of small milestones. Because the learning population may not have ready access to Internet computers or tablets, the course employs mobile friendly Facebook as the key learning platform. Due to the flat, non-hierarchical nature of Facebook, it is an ideal platform for this instructional strategy. Information and activities must be delivered in small chunks, allowing for rewards and acknowledgement after each lesson.

Our research was recently presented at the Teaching and Learning Conference through Ashford University. It was also presented at the 

International Conference on Education and E-Learning (ICEEL) 2017.

To hear our presentation visit: Warn and Zaffino (2017): Measuring the Impact of an Online Course in Entrepreneurship on Self-Efficacy in Thai Women (17:21).